m/e/m/e 2.0, interactive installation parodying web 2.0

Danja Vassiliev

It is a matter of fact that in the Web 2.0 era people live their second existences diving into the so-called metaverse, the meta-universe populated by avatars as described by Neal Stephenson (1992). However, the progressive phenomenon of cyborgisation happens when people use prosthetic technology indiscriminately. What Danja Vassiliev has done with m/e/m/e 2.0 is to revert this trend bringing the machines into the world of humans. Developed as graduation project for the Media Design course at Piet Zwart Institute, the installation consists of a mechanical device made of 28 CD/DVD drives, which open and close via a web interface. A camera attached to the device sends pictures of the open trays back to the browser. In each tray there is a disc made of circuit board material and etched with various UI buttons. The pictures of these discs become image maps in the browser windows. As Vassiliev writes “Each plate is a unique “web page” parodying contemporary web 2.0 style with all its consumerist centered flavor”. The purpose the artwork is to make the users aware of the interconnection of the hardware and the immaterial by operating a mechanical server through an Internet browser application and seeing it unfold in front of them. As Andrew Yeaman (1994) argues “When a person gives self-control over to a computer and accepts the default options without question, that person has become a cyborg”. Critical of pervasive cyborgisation while working with same technologies, Vassiliev understands the necessity of diving into the machine in order to avoid the selfish mimicry of the cultural genes.

Valentina Culatti