JODI: Computing 101B

  • 16 July 2004 - 5 September 2004

'You have to be kind of lost to find this place' - Richard Prince, 2000 As humans, our relationship with technology is fragile. Too often, it seems that the computer is in control of us, rather than vice versa. The control goes both ways: the computer is shaped by us and we are shaped by the computer - often in ways we don't fully understand.

JODI's work uses unstructured play as a way to illuminate this two-way process. By messing around with their computer desktop or playing video games with no intention of winning, they highlight not only the behavioural patterns of computer users but also the intentions of the computer engineers, games designers and advertisers who market the lifestyle to us.

In doing so, they embrace failure as a characteristic shared by humans and technology: the failure of the game character to behave properly, the failure of the machine to function as it was intended, the failure of the player to win the game. JODI revel in both failure and playfulness as an expression of childlike resistance to a bureaucratic world. Yet to see JODI simply as anarchic virtuosos belies the sophistication of their work.

The works in Computing 101B share a fixation with surfaces, from the Macintosh desktop to the cyborg skin of Max Payne. Each of these surface images and symbols relates to a deeper meaning or function - to understand the purpose of an image on the computer screen, you need to understand this language.

Seen in this light, the apparent chaos of JODI's work is not an accident; it comes from an understanding of the language of the computer and a parallel understanding of human nature. Their work is a deliberate attempt to express their humanity (warts and all) through the computer, delving far beneath the surface of the information age to reveal the human and the absurd lurking underneath.

Computing 101B will tour to Spacex, Exeter in December 2004.



Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans, aka JODI, are among the world's most-renowned computer artists. In the early days of the web, their online artwork spread around the net like wildfire, challenging the conventions of a medium that had only just begun to emerge. In 2003, JODI began to focus on making work for gallery exhibitions in Basel,
Malmo, and ultimately New York. JODI live and work in the Netherlands.

Web based artworks (view at your own risk):

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