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Workshop // Hacker Tecniques
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artware * SOFTWARE AS ART?
Misusing, reverse engineering, producing from scratch.

Generally speaking, software is developed following three different ways: the first roots into perception-interaction studies and ergonomics applied to interfaces. This set of considerations aims at plain functionality and has the purpose of creating a "product" (and a normalised user). Second possibility: you can choose beauty and insist on graphic appeal, in order to transform the use of the software and especially its output into visual excitement. Involvement and immersion are the intended results of this aspect of software production. The third level of software design strategy is maybe more subtle and focuses on actual reconfigurations of ways of doing things and building social knowledge. Probably, the most interesting software is based on sets of choices that cross over these 3 areas, but the listed projects are a relevant starting point for who is interested in the last way to artware.

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I/O/D -- Webstalker (1998)
A tag is a tag? No way! The Webstalker is a brilliant example of alternative browser, multi-awarded and multi-cited. Their authors call it 'speculative' software, since it embeds a reflection upon an alternative way of showing and living the Internet against usability and the power of the image. Download it, use it!

Read more:
M. Fuller, A means of Mutation http://bak.spc.org/iod/mutation.html
I/O/D interview by Geert Lovink http://amsterdam.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-9804/msg00072.html

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Potatoland -- Shredder, Riot and Feed (1998 - 2000) http://www.potatoland.org
Ready to fly? Here are three examples of how the WWW can be turned into something really different without changing the code, just translating into something different. And powerful.
SHREDDER: "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."
RIOT: "a unique multi-user browsing experience".
FEED: "Feed strips away the distracting veneer of content in an automated, machine driven search for the underlying beauty of the web."

Read more:
The Aesthetics of Programming--Interview with Mark Napier by Andreas Broegger http://rhizome.org/object.rhiz?2456 (three parts)

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Maciej Wisniewski -- Netomat (1999 - 2001)
New interface is no interface? Maybe, under some respects. Netomat is a sort of conceptual machine that visualizes the Internet as a theater, discarding basic features like the web page or clicking over links. Do you want to know how the story has gone? Check it out at http://netomat.net/formation.html.

Read more:
Reena Jana, Netomat: The Non-Linear Browser http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,20473,00.html

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Nullpointer -- Webtracer (2000, in progress)
The attitude of an alternative browser focuses here on one site at a time transforming its pages into nodes of an interactive spatial representation of information design. "The resulting structures range from deeply interwoven tapestries to delicate and simple tree designs". The web designer's (hidden? open?) intentions achieve a visual and evident definition.

Read more:
NULLPOINTER - Intervista di Matthew Fuller

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Signwave -- AutoIllustrator (2001)
It's not net software, but - come on! - this is a star of alternative software. An alter ego of Adobe Illustrator that turns art into activity for smart machines.

Read more:
Autoillustrator ad Ars Electronica 2001


Hacker Tecniques (english) / (italian)