1992 - 404

Despite it's ephemerality we anchor the Internet to our physical metaphors of cataloging. Governments regulate the assignment of IP addresses (the location of a computer on the Internet) and MAC addresses (labels for computer hardware) that every one is unique and can be identified.

This can be exploited through hacking, changing an identity or location with the replacement of a digit. The binary nature of digital media helps to ensure this goes unnoticed, as digital time happens in pulses of commands, there is always a break between their execution. Digital surveillance can only happen at intervals. One digital pulse can mean the death of one identity or location and the next the birth of a new one.

So in cyberspace not only do time and space dissolve into each other, but also space and identity. We have the possibility to create new identities and locations or to copy others. Even when MAC addresses are embedded in physical hardware, they can be disguised in cyberspace. How can a space of floating and overlapping identity and location be monitored? How could anyone hope to have a census of digital citizens?

A more identifiable representation of digital location is the web page, the often unnoticed deaths of which we are all familiar with. This is a memorial to dead cyberspace. The World Wide Web community are invited to contribute to this project, to add their own dead links that they come across to this memorial, each one being engraved into a black wall of digital marble.

installation photo

1992-404 is a memorial to dead web links which pokes fun at precious thinking about online identity, 1992 being the beginning of the Internet in its popular form and 404 being the error code a web browser receives when trying to view a dead link. The piece appears as an appropriation of Maya Lins' Vietnam War Memorial, not to degrade the war memorial in any way, but rather to emphasise the triviality of the subject matter by comparing the two (even this web page takes itself too seriously). The spacial installation of this piece then extends the idea of these ephemeral identities being imbued with physical mortality .