Strange and lovely music video generated from user-contributed imagery is a music video for Rotterdam artist Jo Goes Hunting in which the hyperdelic landscape in the video is generated by photos contributed by visitors to the site.

"The video is made by Moniker in conjunction with Neuhaus, a temporary academy for more-than-human knowledge at Het Nieuwe Instituut." (via Waxy)

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Experience the minimalist joy of moving empty desktop windows

Try it for yourself. Blankwindows is a creation of NYC-based artist Rafaël Rozendaal. And don't miss and Read the rest

Lose yourself in this trippy, existential interactive picturebook

In this meditative digital adventure, whorled iridescent shapes and glittering contrails that follow your mouse recall the magic of the early web, or some acid-dipped Microsoft Encarta CD-ROM.

Fall in love with one special freeware arcade

Tetrageddon Games is a multifaceted and delightful project from Nathalie Lawhead, one of the participants in my feature about digital mysticism yesterday. Read the rest

Eliza needs you, now

We often think about artificial intelligence in terms of what we can use it for. But what if AIs sometimes need us instead? What happens when the therapist becomes the patient?

Cassie McQuater's game Eliza poses these questions to the player, with the added thematic layer of women's identity in the digital space. It's inspired by ELIZA, a famous chat bot conceived by Joseph Weizenbaum in the 1960s to see whether a machine could be a therapist -- but in McQuater's work, the roles are reversed.

Rather than a distant but efficiently-compassionate female AI, McQuater re-imagines Eliza as a startled polygonal girl gliding in surreal digital space, her image suggesting Hatsune Miku by way of Pikachu. As the player guides her through her odd inner world ("psychedelic mazes," suggests McQuater), they can speak with her in a chat window just as they would with the original Eliza. Except this time, it feels like the bot is not trying to predict our needs, but asking us to manage hers.

"Themes include: depression, web-femininity, gaze. Her dataset will change over time as I 'diary' into her," McQuater tells me.

The addition of a webcam window to the experience is startling, showing us our own face and expression, making us conscious of our own gaze while we alternately manipulate and attempt, ideally, to emotionally support this digital person. "Sometimes I annoy myself," Eliza confides in me, as pink rose petals spill down my browser screen until they all but obscure my own image.

For me, this Eliza game captures the sense of vulnerability in general that comes with being a woman who "performs" online, and the last-gen net art aesthetic suggests a lot of my generation's scrappy, formative years online, scouring the bowels of the early web for human contact and a sense of belonging. Read the rest

The clitoris is a direct line to the matrix

At Motherboard, Claire Evans presents a brilliant "Oral History of the First Cyberfeminists, sharing bits of her correspondence with pioneering Australian tech-goddesses Josephine Starrs, Julianne Pierce, Francesca da Rimini and Virginia Barratt, four net artists who worked together under the pseudonym "VNS Matrix". It's awesome.

Evans met them as part of her exploration of the Cyberfeminism cultural movement, which she said "peaked in the early 1990s and dissipated sometime between the bursting of the dot-com bubble and the coming of Y2K."

VNS Matrix worked in a wide variety of media: computer games, video installations, events, texts, and billboards. In their iconic “​Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century,” they called themselves the “virus of the new world disorder,” and “terminators of the moral codes.” With this irreverent, but keenly political language, they articulated a feminist aesthetic of slimy, unpretty, vigilantly nose-thumbing technological anarchy.

They coded. They built websites. They hung out in chat rooms and text-based online communities like ​LambdaMOO. They told stories through interactive code and experiences like the CD-ROM game All New Gen, in which a female protagonist fought to defeat a military-industrial data environment called “Big Daddy Mainframe.” They believed the web could be a space for fluid creative experimentation, a place to transform and create in collaboration with a global community of like-minded artists.

Their work is part of a cool archive of art from a time when, they say, the internet was less masculine and capitalistic. Read the rest