The Egg of the Internet

"The Egg of the Internet" (1994) is an installation by the artist collective Netband.

The Egg of the Internet

The Egg of the Internet (detail); photo: Jan Sprij

Soon the global community of World Wide Web users will have the opportunity to hatch an egg. If the group of artists who form netband succeed, in the near future a lively chicken will send signs of its life to the Internet through the use of its 'LapTok', the chicken-interface computer keyboard. Internet parents of the technically realized and maintained animal can strengthen their emotional ties with the hatchling by showing their face to the chicken on a monitor.

At DEAF95 the netband will exhibit an advanced prototype of their installation, the Egg of the Internet. No chick will be hatched out during the festival, but at a later date. This egg is meant to evoke questions: about the common metaphor for the beginning of life, the tangents between nature (?) and technology, and questions about life in a new hybrid environment.

Even at the moment that the installation is completely functional, the exact length of the incubation period is still uncertain. Parameters affecting the hatching process such as the temperature and light surrounding the egg, can only be controlled by the visitors to the Internet site. Once the chick has hatched the care will become more intensive. Controlling the tele-automatic facilities for food, cleaning the enclosure, and the regulation of the day-night cycle are just some of the heavy responsibilities of the caretakers on the other end of the wire. Incidentally, the installation has been constructed in such a way that harming the animal is impossible.

The netband artists, a.o. Franz Feigl, Erik Hobijn, Dick Verdult, and Debra Solomon have had their project supported by a large number of scientific and artistic institutions, V2_ and the Berlin Technical University are just two.

This installation is one of the examples at DEAF95 which illustrates that the strict separation between real and virtual is no longer valid. The caring for this egg, chick and chicken exists too far within a conglomerate of mutually influencing electronic and biological elements for a dualistic distinction to be appropriate.

Supported by Electude, Desk, Mondriaan Foundation, Telepolis/MLM, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, V2_Organisatie.

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