Tag Archives: Text

Jodi.org // OMG!!!!

I started with the usual, by victimising a friend of mine to go through this website with me and give his comments. This time it was my best friend from the police force ( and he says his division was too secretively he can’t tell me what he does). I just told him I had to check out the website and give my comments on its concept – that’s all I told him.

Anyways, his reaction was proof how attention span these days are 7 secs. Within 5 secs of entering this website, and exploring through the green powered syntax, he shut the browser and re-entered the website again. Upon the return of the green syntax with a black background, he shut down the browser and told me that my prof might have gotten a wrong link or the link has been sold to something else. He thought it was a viral site that was transparent and was working on my computer or tracking my activities etc. Boy, was he in for a surprise when I told him its art. I guess the artist had proved me on their objective that they wanted to give a hacker intend; to probe, to disturb and to disrupt.


So Jodi.org is an interesting and fantasying website( this coming from me means I am really impressed) at first glance. At first glance, it seems far from a aesthetic piece with its black background, green or yellow syntax with low-res appearances and simple geometric shapes if any form of images do appear. There is lots of chaos going on. Words that you don’t understand but you have this impression immediately, no matter who you are, that they are codes. You recognise it and that itself ( like my friend ) puts you in the impression that its a ‘glitch’. But what’s worse is when you start browsing the website, you realize that you will receive weird feedback from the website after you click or move your mouse. Its constantly random and the website or the interface is always changing !!!!  Its a GLITCH, a hacker like GLITCH!!!!

Jodi.org (2)

Jodi, or jodi.org, is a collaboration of two internet artists: Joan Heemskerk  and Dirk Paesmans. Though their initial background is in video art and photography, they started to create original artworks for the internet in the mid 1992s, which eventually lead to this beautiful piece of art called Jodi.org. It gives you the feel of computerised information that goes behind our beautiful GI. The whole ‘code is art’ makes perfect sense when you use the interface because these syntax makes up the process that runs behind it but we never appreciate them until we come across a glitch. Here, there are no expectations once you start exploring so that itself is an artistic expression to me. The basis of no expectations is difficult to achieve but they did it brilliantly.

Glitch has a very negative connotation since the biblical times, where the expulsion from the garden of eden till the era where Facebook is able to reveal certain photos that supposedly non-public viewing. Its simple- its confusing, seemingly unprogressive and of course annoying! But let’s put these facts together, Steve Jobs used a glitch in the phone lines for his very first ( apparently) experiment and it was a factor of motivation to experiment. If it weren’t for Gergor Mendal’s discovery of a ‘glitch’ in green peas selection, we wouldn’t have discovered natural selection.

The idea of glitch art is very different here as it is not the linear process of exhibiting glitch though it seems as such. The glitch here is determined by the user and the ‘path’ he chooses to take, which is pretty much what a website does. But its not linear because the glitch is based on where you go to and it goes to become a world of glitches.

From my research, most artists actually avoid the reference or use to certain visual representations one of them being Bold3RR. But for this piece, the glitch art is clearly representative visually of the reality behind the glitch – syntax and computer generated codes.

“Every form of glitch, whether breaking a flow or designed to look like it breaks a flow, will eventually become a new fashion. That is fate.”

-Rosa Menkman, No. 04: The Glitch Moment(um), Rosa Menkman, pg8-9

One of the pointers that I relate strongly to is the ‘procedural programming described by Rosa Menkman in her article ” Glitch Moment(um), ” to reference series’ of computational steps that must be carried out in order for a program to reach a desired state.”. Once the ‘erratic’ behaviour is unknown, we either ignore the glitch or become oblivious to the glitch that might just be right in front of us. According to The Glitch Moment(um), Menkman touches on the points of noise and its existence only when in relation to social context and what it is not (refer to pg28). Hence it is not independent. In Jordi.org, we see this theory come to play when the code that we look at is gibberish to us but that is because we acknowledge its existence and believe that that’s not how its suppose to be. We already formulate the rules of what to expect and when it seems to deviate from our expectations, we acknowledge it but its a stigma acknowledgement.  However for Jodi, its a case, where we immediately are aware at first sight that it is a glitch, it becomes a simple failure bug report ( which I proved with the reaction with my best friend). But because it constantly changes, the behaviour becomes unknown and hence we will eventually ‘surrender’ and either become oblivious to the glitch or ignore it ( if you aren’t looking at it for fun and art).

However,  referencing back to the context from Menkman’s The Glitch Moment(um), Menkman did mention about Jordi.org exploiting the Liu-cool logic and creating the attraction point that sparks out the whole concept of Jordi.org. Liu Cool logic states that when the glitch is considered cool, it is still active, reflected upon and that it is still ‘withholding that idea’ (pg 44).  He considers cool as a constant state of flux. To think about it, perhaps it is something like a museum attraction. When the whole idea is trendy, it becomes an attraction ( perhaps even displayed in important hyped occasions). But the moment, it loses its coolness, it becomes history that we no longer adapt to me or try to imitate. Instead it goes to archive. Like mentioned in the theory, it is dependent on two types of mediums- technology, the artist and the interpretation by the viewer. Hence, when reflecting on this, I ask the question that bounds towards the question of retro glitch art. We have heard how art very often borrows elements from all aspects from the its ancestors. Why does this not work for art? Something I am actually very curious to explore.

Hence, it conclusion, I do feel that this art piece might seem like a simple glitch art, but overall its not cause its not that linear. The idea that glitches are always evolving will eventually make you uncomfortable or even frustrated. But thats the point; when glitch and art are evolving ,the main essence of glitch art, to think about it, is the ever changing nature of glitch and its art!


MY TWO CENTS: www.jodi.org


This one isn't for everyone...

Ummm... I guess the webmaster's name is Jodi, 
but who knows? In fact, who really knows just
what is going on in this site! Site? Can this
be called a "site?" This... place... is truly
a work of art. 

That is...

This site goes beyond all html constraints to
present the visitor with bizarre webtechnics
that make you wonder whether your browser is
going bonkers or whether you've had two too
many cyberdrinks. There are plenty of letters
on these pages, but don't expect too many words.

What a terrific use (err, abuse) of html!

Oh, by the way:
Blinkophobes Beware!

this place will cause more "View Source" buttons to
be pressed than emails reaching Socks Clinton.  You
gotta at least check out the code for the first page!

But be sure you take along some aspirin -- it'll
help with your hangover.

– J.Geoff Malta, jgeoff.com



Research Critique: Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin’s ‘The Listening Post’

The Listening Post by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin is basically a interactivity broadcasting installation that allows you to see a glimpse of the forums and discussions that occur ‘independently’ in the internet. A Short Summary is as followed:

“Listening Post is a ‘dynamic portrait’ of online communication, displaying uncensored fragments of text, sampled in real-time, from public internet chatrooms and bulletin boards. Artists Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin have divided their work into seven separate ‘scenes’ akin to movements in a symphony. Each scene has its own ‘internal logic’, sifting, filtering and ordering the text fragments in different ways.

By pulling text quotes from thousands of unwitting contributors’ postings, Listening Post allows you to experience an extraordinary snapshot of the internet and gain a great sense of the humanity behind the data. The artwork is world renowned as a masterpiece of electronic and contemporary art and a monument to the ways we find to connect with each other and express our identities online.”

By Science Museum, London

These descriptions would all look wonderful in theory but of course they don’t seem to be able to give light about the experience that participants would be facing. We must remember that an interactive installation will never be complete in paper unless we experience the situation or get involved – that is why they call it interactive. Hence, to perhaps give much more feel into this installation, I have attached an article written by Megan Gordon-Gilmore. The article not only explains the installation piece but includes description of the the situation and the environment. The author also does bring some perspective with regard to this installation being an art form.


Do read if you are interested but definitely, don’t stop here. I have my own input which is followed.

Overall, I think the project when it started in 2000, had so much meaning and context such that it seemed like a warning about the future – the future we are currently in. However, the dedicated meaning or the intend that the project was based on, might have been lost along the line of classification and data-sorting, especially when we want to categorise this as an art form. Hence, I shall go through this in great detail as I write on.

The Warnings

“Our early writing on the piece talked about a ‘global conversation’ and now that seems to be happening more broadly on Twitter and other social media, not IRC” (Hansen, 2014)

Hansen was right! The broadcasting medium expanded exponentially over the years and their project proposal and installation became something that was foreseeing this. However, the terms were no longer text. The whole idea of text based information was interpreted as text itself and that created the system that made it possible for them to sort out and filter these text for broadcasting. Hence, on their first curtain call, there were people who wrote things like ‘ I am 18’ and then eventually when it ‘webbed’ itself to the interne, there were things that made sense yet did not make sense. This seems okay when you are dealing with forums and discussions those days. But times have changed and text is no longer text in the context of art. Text is a symbolic expression of our feelings, thoughts and overlapping context. So what’s the difference between the past and the present when they are all text? Randomness. The randomness is not the same with the text that were spilt out during the curtain call of the installation. But the randomness is a burst of expression, call for activism etc. It is like its medium- a social too within another social tool. An article that I was reading by Bernard Enjoiras on Transcending Participatory Divides (2012) examines using web text data analysis from on social media re-affirms or transcend socioeconomic divides in terms of cyber participation – which means that there are aspects that make things complicated just by the sorting out of text. An example would be the use of emojis and sequenced gif images to construct within a text based environment to convey their message. Like the internet, the social interaction aspect of the ‘global conversation’ has expanded to include non-text elements together with text elements to create expressions. That’s what I meant by complicated.

Hence, for the group to be able to use the same project even in 2013, with a few tweets, to me becomes nothing more than an outdated installation cause the actual meaning and perhaps message is lost. But in 2000, when the project first started, it sent out a powerful message – someone can be watching and someone is. If it were myself, I would be scared to put an input cause there is a system out there, back then, that is already able to retrieve information about what you say. Just that in this installation, it was filtered to create a sort of visual sensation. Today, we are at debating about censorship and how National Security Agencies are spying on us. Well, don’t say they didn’t warn you. Its just that we were too overwhelmed by the presence of the internet.

An Art Piece?

The question is this is visually an art piece even with voice modulation and text layering via Max/MSP ( which is an awesome yet slightly expensive software) ?

“The artists used a principle called Minimum Description Length (MDL) to cluster possible topics. MDL says the best model provides the shortest description of a given set of data while still capturing the important features evident in the data” (Hansen & Yu, 2001)

Many a times, we associate art as thinking out of the box and it seems like this installation is befitting of such definition. But it goes through this regime of sorting and filtering – in such a system. Its like putting rules and regulation for different forms of art when art is a form of expression. How can you restrict expression? If you did filter expression, does it truly represent the system in the internet. Making cognitive sense might be part of the project’s for people to better understand what is happening, which I can sympathize with them. But in the name of making it an interactive installation, a system that filters these information on a text base syntax, makes it directed – which is no longer an interactive anymore. Hence, if they could either randomize or create a system that does not filter it based on text syntax but rather loop syntax might be able to make more sense


I might sound like I am pinning this down but honestly, I am not. I think this is still a great installation but that needs to perhaps redefine what makes this an art installation within the context of the 2010s and its message.