Artist Imagines Popular Websites Without the Content
Whether we’re checking our email or browsing social media for the latest viral cat videos, a large portion of our time is devoted to staring at webpages. For his latest installation, artist Rafaël Rozendaal has reinterpreted some of the most heavily trafficked sites on the web as stark pieces of abstract art.
Most of the works produced by this New York-based artist are meant to be experienced online (he has been known to create web-based interactive art pieces and sell the domain names to art collectors). In 2014, Rozendaal developed a Chrome extension called “Abstract Browsing” that maintained a website’s layout while replacing its content with a pre-set color palette. Now he's selected a few of his favorite screenshots to bring out of the digital sphere and into the gallery world.
His exhibit consists of tapestries depicting these content-free webpages, each woven using an early 19th century Jacquard loom. The industrial era medium may seem far removed from the cyber age content on display, but a centuries-old connection can be drawn between the two. The mechanical loom is often credited with setting the foundation for modern computing with its early version of a programmable punch card. As an additional nod to modern technology, the tapestries have been woven with threads of varying shades, giving the final product the same low-res look you might find on screen.
The pages Rozendaal chose to feature in his installation were the sites he visits on a regular basis. Even stripped of text, images, and ads, you still might be able to identify webpages like Gmail, Tumblr, and Pinterest based on their distinctive layouts alone. Abstract Browsing is currently on display at the Steve Turner gallery in Los Angles. You can check out some pieces from the collection in the photo series below.
Images Courtesy of the Rafaël Rozendaal and Steve Turner, Los Angeles. Photo credit: Don Lewis.
[h/t: Fast Co. Design]