Nine(9), a tool for narrative maps by Mongrel


Nine(9) is the name of the latest work by the artists collective Mongrel, from London, already well-known for investigating the paradoxes of identity and truth in the ‘database culture’. Referring to a number which represents, among many things, the difference, in years, between the life expectancy of a jamaican and a swedish person, Nine(9) is a server-side software which adapts an older tool written by the same group, called Linker, for the web. The maps drawn with Nine(9) can be linked to one another, generating a contact between the authors, since the software, among other things, sends two emails informing them of the newly-created link. A cornerstone principle is therefore pointed out: the links are made by people (the authors) but also, automatically, by programs. The stories created by the users, using different kinds of data (video, text, pictures, sound), become microworlds which can be easily identified when returning to the site. They are endless database labyrinths which, even if hard to browse, hint at scraps of reality and, if pigeonholed in the same matrix, generate social curiosity and knowledge dizziness. The relations linking the data become the nodal points of knowledge, and their importance is at last perceptible.