New Media Semiotics

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Artist’s Book: A Tribute to Ljubljana World Book Capital 2010 with Ministry of Culture’s Patronage


In his compelling work “A Very Short Introduction to Contemporary Art,” Julian Stallabrass aptly highlights the era, a time when artists engaged in shaping online space, juxtaposed against the backdrop of corporate entities intent on transforming the Internet from an open forum into a commercial arena. This colonization by commerce has provided a fertile ground for Internet artists, who have crafted incisive and intricate works aimed at halting the consumer in their digital tracks. This project stands as a contemporary echo of that ethos.

Diverging from the trajectory of New Media Textuality, this collection of endeavors, encapsulated within an artistic book, refrains from an infinite alignment with the model of the literal sonnet. Instead, it retraces its steps to the essence of textuality: signs—a core foundation that demands fresh comprehension within the realm of new media. Here, signs must be “read” not in the traditional literary sense, but rather with a nuanced understanding attuned to the new digital milieu.

Facebook Connections Visualized: A Portrait of “Friends”

This artistic endeavor harnesses algorithms to construct expansive Facebook interface icons, seamlessly amalgamating profile pictures of the author’s digital companions. The outcome—an intricate mosaic of faces—holds the key to its comprehension. This captivating montage serves as both an embodiment of the democratic possibilities uncovered through social media in North African revolutions and a reflection of critical viewpoints, epitomized by Vuk Cosic’s contemplative query: Can a revolution occur within the confines of a supermarket?

Icons Unleashed: The Virtual Architecture of “Crazy Icons”

Immersed within this innovative virtual architecture venture lies a seamless fusion of the Google Earth plugin—both an exhibition space and an integral component of the project itself. The user steps into the role of a creator, wielding the power to erect colossal computer icons meticulously fashioned from repurposed containers. These monumental installations materialize across global tourist hotspots—the likes of Cairo’s Giza, the Vatican, Uluru, New York, and beyond. Yet, this remarkable journey transpires within a digital collective realm, a mirror image of our tangible Earth.

In this ingeniously crafted virtual realm, our planet metamorphoses into an intricate tapestry of accessibility and fragility, an ecosystem ripe with potential yet tethered to the edge of vulnerability.

Poems for Machines

To grasp the essence of this undertaking, it’s essential to delve into Maurizio Bolognini’s installation “Computer sigillati” (1992-2004). This collection of interconnected computers, stripped of input and output devices, forms a network where human-machine dialogue is rendered moot. Within this contextual framework emerges “Poems for Machines,” a series of sonnets intricately woven from the binary fabric of ones and zeros—the very conduits of machine language. Paradoxically, these linguistic carriers have ventured beyond human comprehension, leaving them nestled within the exclusive embrace of machines.

The Day After

Nestled within a broader context, this project finds its link to the realm of alternative browsers—examples like Mark Napier’s “Shredder” come to mind. Herein lies a transformative process wherein a chosen webpage metamorphoses into its “post-apocalyptic” counterpart—stripped bare of images and letters. What remains is a tableau populated solely by numbers and enigmatic symbols, while emptiness and dots stand in for letters erased from existence. A narrative unfolds, where the dominion of machines reigns supreme, erasing all traces of human-readable records from the annals of existence.

Advertising Sonnet

The architecture of “Ad Sonnets” mirrors the very system that birthed SMS sonnets within my previous artistic endeavor, “New Media Textuality.” This project serves as a lens, thrusting the program and algorithm into the spotlight—a dynamic tandem orchestrating data manipulation. This interplay resonates with the classic tenets expounded by Lev Manovich, probing the intricate symbiosis between user interface and database.

Yet, the narrative transcends these boundaries, unfurling towards the digital cosmos of machines—a realm portrayed with somber hues, reminiscent of Vilem Flusser’s disquisition in “Towards a Philosophy of Photography.” The logic underpinning the web system serves as a catalyst for the inflation of sonnets, a metamorphosis where data transmutes into new media entities. Within this landscape, users become cognizant of a distinct reality: an inflation that eschews the renaissance of the sonnet, spiraling instead into a realm of complexity and quandary.

Metamorphosis of Brands: “Converted Brands” Unveiled

A curious anecdote echoes through time—a tale entrenched in the legendary movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Reportedly, the director and screenplay writer opted to remain silent on the significance of the supercomputer’s name, HAL9000. Closer scrutiny reveals its cryptic nature: a subtle shift of a single letter transforms “IBM,” the world’s preeminent computer corporation at that juncture. This project invites you to partake in this transformative process: to input any brand’s name, and witness it transmute by a single letter. Thereafter, you’re presented with an opportunity to stake your claim on this whimsical title.

Amidst the paranoiac undercurrents swirling around logos, this project extracts functional utility from textual inputs, actualizing a course of online shopping. The once meaningful string of letters metamorphoses into a realm of ironic nonsense—signifying a mysterious twist of fate that aligns with your mystical inclinations. In a world where brands cast their influential net over our lives, the Turing machine’s role remains unchanged—converting one form into another, sans the birth of novel significance. However, the narrative navigates further, sewing these absurd strings back into the tapestry of corporate graphic design, a captivating cycle of metamorphosis.

Linguistic Alchemy: Unraveling “Translate”

Drawing from the depths of Google Translate, this project embarks on a profound exploration of the interplay between computers and language. It confronts an enigma—whether this symbiotic relationship presents an inherent conundrum. This enigma lingers as a seemingly insoluble puzzle, as language’s essence evolves through the intricate intermingling of context and content, transcending the confines of mere text. A translator, often a human intermediary, straddles dual linguistic realms, cognizing the original text through its anticipated context.

Venturing into the heart of this linguistic labyrinth, the project embraces the algorithmic potential of Google Translate. By initiating a journey through seven different languages and then retracing this trajectory to the source, the essence of modern state fundamentals is illuminated. The book’s pages undergo a captivating metamorphosis—letters transform into rhythmic script variations, relinquishing their linguistic bonds. In this enthralling dance of transformation, linguistics dissipates, giving rise to an intricate tapestry of shifting symbols.

Visual Readings

An innovative journey fueled by Google Images, this project harnesses the transformative power of translating words into captivating visuals. Through a meticulous process, it deconstructs user-input sentences into their constituent words, orchestrating a canvas of images that mirrors these linguistic elements. The essence of comprehension morphs into a quest for parallels between symbol and designated object—a quest echoing the echoes of Charles S. Peirce’s semiotic theory on iconicity.

In this intricate web of symbolism, even within the domain of machines, symbolic signs endure—rooted in code as per Peirce’s third level. Pixels, serving as these very symbolic signs, nevertheless function on a plane of quantitative resemblance, a realm anchored in the iconic. Amidst these reflections arises a fundamental question: how do humans seamlessly integrate into the semiotic tapestry woven by machines? This fascinating juncture challenges the very essence of human-machine symbiosis within the expansive realm of semiotics.