Digital Debris in Internet Art: A Resistance to the Epistemology of Search



The paper, explores the idea of digital debris in Internet Art. Here, I will understand digital debris as words typed in search engines and which then disappear; bits of obsolete codes which are lingering on the Internet, abandoned web pages, broken links or pieces of ephemeral information circulating on the Web 2.0 and which are used as a material by practitioners. While many anthropological and ethnographical studies are concerned with the material object of the computer once it becomes obsolete, very few studies have analysed waste as digital data. The study intends to demonstrate that such instances of discarded hidden, elusive and ephemeral pieces of information are to be found in art practice. More specifically, it is within the framework of Internet Art practice that digital debris are frozen in their fluctuating course and gain visibility. The paper will focus on two works, symptomatic of two different eras in the development of Internet Art, i.e. by Jodi (1993) and Data Diaries by Cory Arcangel (2003).

Keywords: debris, digitality, information, ephemerality, memory