IRL Chicago
Web Editor

WTF is the Internet

"slides" && linx

this course

The Internet signifies a break of continuity, a symbol of infinity. It is technically and conceptually the center of our global information age. Regardless of your materials and medium, an artist today can not be contemporary without being digitally literate, which is to say without a meaningful understanding of “the relationships and interactions between people and the online environment.” ...

Digital Literacy

( as xplained by a brittish robot )

“the relationships and interactions between people and the online environment.”
Paul McFedries defining “The Internet Ecology

... This course will provide you with that understanding through a survey of the Net’s technological ( computer science ), political ( military, commercial, global ) and cultural (, digital folk, social media ) histories; along side an introduction to the Web’s core tools ( code editors, FTP clients, browsers ) and languages ( HTML, CSS, JavaScript ). ...

when we say HISTORIE[S]

The histories of the conception, creation and development of the Internet reveals a centrifugal force driven by an ethos of openness and collaboration that has empowered users and networked communities. Open-source, privacy, remix, identity, hacktivism, telepresence are among the #tags we’ll be discussing w/respect to the politix + philosophies of the digital age as it’s come to be informed by the Internet.

We’ll be looking at various complementing + contradicting historie[s] in the interest of building a contemporary context for our practices ( be it net art and/or net-aware art ) including the historie[s] of computer science, .com[ercial] development, canonical New-Media Art, www communities and digital folk art or ‘participatory culture’.



languages && tools

if there is a craft to the Internet, the foundational skillz are found in programming + code literacy ( not to be confused with ‘mastery’ ).

We will be covering HTML, CSS and Javascript in this course, not to become ‘experts’ (though you can) but rather, to establish foundational literacy, perspective and context. There is a suite of additional ‘literacies’ built on this foundation, most importantly remix ( the ability to effectively appropriate from a vast set of tools, libraries and cultural repositories available on/offline ) and participation ( understanding the different social expectations of a diverse set of online communities, and as artists understanding this as a key dynamic in the interactive ‘systems’ we design )

digital ecology && Politix

"...Ideology is 'modeled' in software" — Alexander Galloway


"We shape our tools, thereafter our tools shape us"

“All media work us over completely. They are so persuasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. The medium is the massage. Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments. All media are extensions of some human faculty – psychic or physical.” — Marshall McLuhan

"there are so many ideas to care about, and with ideas comes the politics of ideas. There are thousands of computer ideas, and so there are thousands of computer religions, that is ideas people care very much about. [...] So who gets to decide? Who gets to decide what methods will be used, what ideas will be followed in creating software? Ahhhh, that's the politics of the computer world." — Ted Nelson

... Without a fundamental understanding of these histories, tools and languages it is impossible to take any agency as netizens much less comment on our condition as artists.

the Internet: what / who / how

[ 1 ] View Source

[ 2 ] IP Address

in your terminal, type: nslookup
to find the IP address of the server a site is "hosted" on

[ 3 ] IP Lookup

sites like && can tell u where that server is physically located

looks like pitchfork is hosted in an Amazon datacenter in Ashburn, VA... which seems like a strange city, but Ashburn is very important to the Internet

[ 4 ] the journey that file took to get here

in your terminal, type: traceroute
to follow the path that file took to get from here to there

it takes less than a second ( only milliseconds ) to "hop" through dozens of computers

one of google's server rooms in their Iowa Data Center

Comcast's fiber network across the country

this undersea cable its on its way to Cuba from Venezuela

view interactive undersea cable map
view interactive network exchange points map

"This modest indentation on the Canadian coastline is a major Internet landmark, a sort of Ellis Island of the Web: It’s where a submarine cable owned by Hibernia Atlantic comes ashore."



for homework read 9 design ideas that shaped the web
( from the book 100 ideas that changed the web ).

out of the 9, pick the one u think was most imporant && xplain why ( 300 - 500 words ).

write ur response in TextEdit ( make sure it is in "plain text" mode )

save ur response as a .html file by simply adding '.html' after u name the file ( name ur file yourname_9ideas.html where "yourname" is replaced with ur actual name, make sure u have no spaces in the file name )

submit ur file

first name: