JODI, 2009

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Most communication via mobile and social platforms consists of banalities, of meaningless babble without any permanent information value. At least, this is what critics and pessimists would say about digital media, and especially about the 'boom' of social networking and microblogging sites like Facebook and Twitter. With their interactive installation 'SK8MONKEYS ON TWITTER', net art pioneers JODI take this idea to an extreme. In the militant spirit of hardware hacking and the subversion of digital tools, the duo convert a set of wireless computer keyboards into skateboards, by adding wheels to them. These keyboards are connected to several computers logged on to a Twitter account. When visitors ride the skate/keyboards, the 'sk8monkey' Twitter feed becomes verloaded with nonsensical tweets, with random gibberish generated by the pressure of the skaters' feet. With physical play, noise is introduced in an on-line environment that boasts to present 'the wisdom of the crowd'. The title of the work playfully refers to the 'infinite monkey theorem': when a monkey would hit the keys of a keyboard for an infinite amount of time, certainly a meaningful text will appear at some point...

This work was presented for the first time during the 2009 festival in Dordrecht, curated by the artists themselves. In the context of this festival, 'SK8MONKEYS' was shown as a performance with local skaters. They ended up destroying the keyboards in a playful and liberating apotheosis. After this performance, the work was converted into a somewhat longer-term public installation, in which the possibility of destruction still remains present. 'SK8MONKEYS ON TWITTER' is part of JODI's long-term artistic practice on the internet, which they see as an extremely extended performance in a changeable and impermanent medium.

  • Date: 2009
  • Type: Installation
  • Participants: Joan Heemskerk, Dirk Paesmans
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: satire / parody, medium-specific, interactive
  • Keywords: installation - interactive installation, installation - kinetic installation, representation, communication, technology, movement, process, internet / computer network (technique), installation - computer-based installation, humour, internet (subject), installation - net art