Heard a segment on The World tonight on the “Dark Side of the Web.” The piece focused on police action against illegal activities on the “dark web,” many of them reprehensible, but it also made me think of Lisa Jevbratt’s project 1:1, which she first created when part of the artist collaborative C5 in 1999 – only a year after Google was founded.
It’s commonplace to talk about artists as visionaries of the world to come, using new technologies in ways that were not even imagined let alone intended by their makers, which nevertheless “soon” become the norm. It’s so commonplace that the trope has become almost meaningless. Lisa didn’t invent robot crawlers or data viz or discover how much of the internet is unseen, unknown, and inaccessible, even to Google, but she sure as hell created an amazing project that did use visualization of big data to create just this understanding – some 15 years before public radio can do a general interest story about the visible web being only the tip of the iceberg.
Artistic innovation is often hidden in some deep valley between hype and fantasy that only time can clearly reveal. That’s a conundrum worth supporting.