Research: Shredder 1.0 by Mark Napier


I was born in the age of the internet. As bad as it may sound, I have become extremely dependent on the internet to carry on with my normal life. I’m able to read do my homework online, purchase things on the web and even find directions. Its hard to imagine having to live without WiFi… what more without the internet.

However, all these while, I’ve been thinking about the internet merely just as something that is THERE – I’ve never thought about how our computers processes the data that we feed them or how browsers work to show us information. The last thing that I thought was possible was to create art online.

I’ve always thought of art as being something tangible; something we’re able to look and marvel at while touching the surface of the art piece. Something you stick in a frame, or something you can hold together with glue or duct tape. This class on open source studio certainly has widen my eyes to the other types of art forms out there and ways of expressing oneself; not only to web and net art, but also to the art of the glitch… there is beauty in the flaws of the web (I stand corrected).

An example is Google Maps – the ever trusty app you can use to find your way around (almost) every inch of the planet. This is what you’d expect to see if you searched for NTU ADM:

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On the other hand, you may find glitchy Google maps here.

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We are on the internet so often that we have begin to expect and assume what a web browser would generate a website like.. so what happens if those expectations are torn down?


Mark Napier, Shredder 1.0
custom software, internet 

Mark Napier’s net art and performance art piece, Shredder 1.0 interface which takes existing websites and deconstructs and messes with their code to create abstract compositions of expressionist-like artwork. The Internet may be a valuable tool for individual use, but it is far more important as a social mechanism and Napier’s work takes the social context of the internet and exploits it into art pieces.


The web browser is an organ of perception through which we ‘see’ the web. It filters and organizes a huge mass of structured information that spans continents, is constantly growing, reorganizing itself, shifting its appearance, evolving. The Shredder presents this global structure as a chaotic, irrational, raucous collage. By altering the HTML code before the browser reads it, the Shredder appropriates the data of the web, transforming it into a parallel web. Content become abstraction. Text becomes graphics. Information becomes art.

– Mark Napier on, Artists’ Statement, 1998

The most interesting thing to not about net art is that its focus is many-to-many interaction. The interaction between people and the net IS THE ART, unlike in sculptures and paintings. Shredder is both interactive and generative as the users of Napier’s work has to input their own websites – and then is able to watch as the codes are (de)generated to create these wonderful pieces of glitch art.

Napier cites Pollock and Smithson as his inspiration. It is interesting to note that the artists he emulated and took inspiration from worked with tangible materials such as paint and sand. From there, he created similar bodies of work for exhibition and participation on the net.


Convergence (1952), Jackson Pollock


Spiral Jetty (2015), Robert Smithson


 He explains in his approach: “I wanted to expose raw material that make up the ‘design’, ‘content’ and ‘information’ of the web. Of course, this material is a construct of software and the graphics display. It is ‘raw’ only by virtue of the context The Shredder creates”.

(Green, R., 2004 Thames &Hudson, p. 100)


With that, I end my research post with a screengrab of my OSS blog being shredded… no more homework! HAHAHA I’m just kidding 😛

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I tried to use the shredder but I couldn’t get it to work :/ oh dear…