Shredder 1.0

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Shredder 1.0
Original author(s) Mark Napier
Initial release 1998

Shredder 1.0 is a work of Net Art created by Mark Napier. The Shredder 1.0 interface takes preexisting websites and deconstructs their code to create original abstract compositions.



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 reinturpreted by a Perl Script code created by Napier.[1] Perl Script is a stable, open source programming language and is the most popular web programming language due to its text manipulation capabilities and rapid development cycle.[2]

In his piece summary Napier explains that in his view the web is not a physically representation of information in the same way a magizine or book is, but instead a temporary graphic created when browsing software interprets HTML instruction.[3] 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. [1] The signature color and shapes created by the Shredder 1.0 are largely due to Napier's background as an artist.[1] Shredder 1.0 pieces have strong Abstract Expressionist roots, making use of Surrealist techniques in automatic art.[4] Shredder 1.0 pieces have been compared[by whom?] to the painting of Hans Hoffman and Gerhard Richter.


Related Works

  • Landfill (1998)
  • Feed (2001)
  • Waiting Room (2002)

External links

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