Internet as an Entity?
Channeling the Net Through
a Robotic Typewriter

2004-2005, Fang-Yu "Frank" Lin

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Artist Statement

Is the Internet becoming an entity? If the answer is positive, what are the characteristics of this being? Perhaps it is a pervert since one of the most prolific facets of the Net is adult content. Or is the Internet geeky because of the technical information galore that it possesses?

The Internet is the latest great invention that promises, or threatens, sweeping social implications. With its ever-expanding knowledge base and constantly growing network, the Internet has outgrown the expectations of its founders and reached beyond its intended fields, performing tasks that were not initially envisioned at a scale and strength that seems to suggest the emergence of a new, if foreign, entity.

Taking a cue from the notorious Turing Test, I attempt to channel the Internet – an invisible and intangible being – through a medium la the Ouija Board and allow the audience to engage in conversion with it. The interactions are facilitated by a custom robotic typewriter, which is chosen for its text input/output functionality and its history of igniting information revolution (rise of the data processing industry) and social change (women starting to be employed in the office).

By typing on the typewriter keyboard, one is able to "chat" with the Internet while the background application searches online resources for response. The typewriter prints out the resulting text or ASCII art on a paper roll for the audience to view or keep. Be it whimsical, intelligent or simply irrelevant, the typed words of the Internet reveal a fragment of truth regarding itself.