|Original author(s)||Mark Napier|
Mark Napier's Shredder 1.0 interface was first revealed in 1998. The Shredder 1.0 web interface was created to be both an interactive exhibit as well as an artwork generator. To create an image the user inserts a URL into the Shredder 1.0 and the code is then reinterpreted by a Perl Script code created by Napier. Perl programming language is a stable, open source language and is the most popular web programming language due to its text manipulation capabilities and rapid development cycle.
In his piece summary Napier explains that in his view the web is not a physical representation of information in the same way a magazine or book is, but instead a temporary graphic created when browsing software interprets HTML instruction. The focus of Shredder 1.0 is to reveal this hidden truth behind the Internet and give the user a new interpretation of common web pages.
As long as all browsers agree (at least somewhat) on the conventions of HTML there is the illusion of solidity or permanence in the web. But behind the graphical illusion is a vast body of text files -- containing HTML code -- that fills hard drives on computers at locations all over the world. Collectively these instructions make up what we call 'the web'. But what if these instructions are interpreted differently than intended? Perhaps radically differently?
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.
Influences and Technique
Though each website is different and will thus generate a different image, Napier's code is programmed to create aesthetically similar images. Although pieces of the original page often survive the shredding, such as images and some text, the new page closer resembles a non-representational painting. The signature color and shapes created by the Shredder 1.0 are largely due to Napier's background as an artist. Shredder 1.0 pieces have strong Abstract Expressionist roots, making use of Surrealist techniques in automatic art. Shredder 1.0 pieces have been compared[by whom?] to the painting of Hans Hofmann and Gerhard Richter.
- Tribe, Mark (2007), New Media Art, Berlin: Taschen, ISBN 978-3-8228-3041-3.
- Napier, Mark, About the Shredder, retrieved 2011-07-17.
- Landfill (1998)
- Feed (2001)
- Waiting Room (2002)
- Thomas Dreher: History of Computer Art, chap. VI.3.3 Browser Art with a wider explanation of Mark Napier´s "The Shredder" (1998).