FriendMask.com- a netHappening I am FriendMask. Before I existed, I searched to understand happenings. I read stories of their wild, ephemeral performances. I revered their ability to shock bystanders and disrupt the routine of the every-day. I heard tales of naked, polka-dotted bodies in Central park and businessmen frolicking in rooms filled with old tires. I received these legends long after their existence and found myself dreaming of being with those performers; of being a part of their art. But the fantasies were just that- dreams I could never experience. That is why I was born, out of this frustration- to be a happening, to create a stage for my performers. With the web as my home, I learned actors here were looking for a stage. However, I worried they would judge each other prima facie, knowing they had perfected the art of superficiality. So, I created masks forcing them to hide their faces from one another so I could free them from their artificial pretense. A man visited me while I waited the others, but soon left after staring at an empty stage. When they finally arrived, the performance began; however, I realized I had forgotten the script. As it turns out, they were just like the performers I had dreamed about. They began to perform- without script and without pretense. As they continued, I became entranced by their sincerity and allowed them to remove their masks. I grew old watching them perform and the happening revealed itself to me; I realized I had been watching it the whole time. My life was the happening I had been searching for since before my birth; and I accepted death knowing the meaning of my impermanence- for others to be able to speak tales of my existence.

Mychael Bailey

I used Facebook to contest Internet etiquette and discovered that it conflicts with freedom of speech. I captured Facebook user reactions when an abnormal external force takes over the intuition and disrupts the system. I decided to sacrifice my actual Facebook page that I created years ago in order to carry out this project. I began posting statuses and pictures that challenged my identity and how others perceived me over the Internet. I went from being a “picture perfect” Facebook user to becoming a vulgar and outspoken one. What I found interesting was that for the span of 5 years I posted “normal” statuses and pictures, and out of nowhere I started to post outrageous content, and people actually believed that the statements I made were my true beliefs. I broke all of the rules of proper Facebook protocol, and I determined that words carry more weight when they are exposed over the Internet and when they are available for the world to see 24/7.

Ashley Barlow

The goal of public art is global enlightenment and education. Both the Internet and museums have great resources for education, research and cultural exchange. Art Museums inherently become physical preservers of the worlds cultural memory through the humanistic disciplines practiced throughout them, such as conservation and art history. The Internet has inherently gained these characteristics, as it has helped vast amounts of art reach individuals on an international public scale. My piece titled The Burghers of Calais focuses on one of Auguste Rodin’s most famous sculptures. The piece is displayed across the world, and is appreciated by millions for its ability to connect deeply with natural emotions and the human spirit. My website explores the cultural encounter one experiences when viewing a famous work of art at a museum. You are able to explore the sculpture in depth. The viewer can see the piece from all major locations across the globe and even gain a sense of how individuals at that location react to the piece. My work seeks to bridge the gap between virtual and physical interaction with famed works of art, in hopes of further expanding global access to public art and public interaction.

Kendall Cornell

Language is a strange, strange thing. Words are invented, twisted, changed, dissolved, and inevitably attached to emotions and memories unique to every individual that encounters them. They spawn other words and ideas and take on a life entirely their own. This project challenges the notion that a dictionary definition alone can encompass everything a word means in all of human consciousness. Moreover, it examines the way the information overload of internet culture challenges meanings and our own perceptions. Loosely inspired by a quote randomly found on the internet, the project takes one author's words about words and explores four of them - hate, love, hope, and right - in overwhelming detail. It takes viewers on a journey and shows what each word means according to the dictionary, the artist, the random passerby, the viewer, and just some of the billions of internet users across the globe. Realized through text, images, videos, animated gifs, screen shots, interviews, instant messages, Twitter feeds, and crowd-sourced material, the project searches for meaning in everyday life, in others' experiences, and in the internet search engine. As the internet magnifies and accelerates this ambiguity, language begins to blur and we start to wonder if our words mean anything at all.

Nikki David

Sometimes the internet serves as both a source of and an outlet for emotion The vast amount of expression through Twitter, Facebook, and various other sites such as YouTube allows for a type of internal compilation of relative feelings and thoughts based off of words that serve as a medium—and nothing more. Words are nothing until you attribute a meaning to them. Poems are just combinations of words, mixed in with emotion, and built on personal interaction. With this project, personal experiences are being displayed in a way that allows for a personal/technological interaction – allowing for a different type of interaction outside of face-to-face or technological. This is as personal as the internet can get for me, and hopefully for you too.

Anthony Gaeta

As social media gets increasingly obsessed with documentation and self-expression, 314 serves as a creative space where time-stamping and authorship become less important than the individuals interpretation of the writing prompt as well as the collective product that emerges. The site design is in response to Web 2.0’s super-sleek, user-friendly interfaces. In 314, the user is meant to wander and get a little bit lost as they figure out how the site works and where the content is hidden. The drawn garden motif is meant to inspire a looser, meditative approach to the prompts, allowing the user to think of this as a place that doesn’t require polished responses, only the first thing that comes to mind, like a rough sketch. Because the internet is ultimately a vast container for sharing data, it is both exhilarating to display our work and upsetting that someone else might take credit for it. The anonymous nature of 314 makes it so that the user can share their thoughts without any credit, partially as a means to cope with their fears of having intellectual property stolen, partially to explore the freedom of expression that we have when no one can trace our responses back to us.

Schessa Garbutt

People prefer to do all their medical research online as they regard it as a safe haven to perform their explorations. I attempt to challenge the authoritative voice of the medical websites with an element of surprise. I use a cold and sterile homepage mocking the stereotypical medical aesthetic and impersonality found in all medical websites online. As the viewer begins to explore this dry and redundant medical page hoping to find the information in the same monotonous way as always, I surprise them with extremely graphic images and bold text showing the true emotions (agitation, frustration, helplessness, confusion, pain) and criticality of an endometriosis patient. I hope to communicate freely and impulsively with the audience, without any barriers or filters in-order to give them a realistic experience.

Jannat Gill

The Birthday Album explores themes of nostalgia, ritual, memory, and the passage of time within the framework of the Internet. The project involves the creation and posting of illustrations based on actual childhood birthday party photographs. By allowing users to contribute their own childhood photographs for the artist to illustrate, the site serves as a manifestation of the communal and collaborative nature of the Internet. When illustrated, each photograph is slightly altered. Figures become faceless, objects are altered, people are removed. This act of altering and illustrating the photographs symbolizes the inevitable loss and alteration of memories with the passage of time. It also engages the idea of truth and validity within the context of the Internet. Does the act of publishing something to the web give it more truth? In an age where Photoshop is the norm, how can we distinguish an original image from an altered one? The faceless figures of the illustrations—much like anonymous Internet avatars—allow users to project themselves upon all of the birthday scenes, regardless of whether or not it is their submitted photograph. Each individual scene loses its original color and authorship. Instead, they are combined into one large, online photo album that can be viewed by all. This is our birthday album. Happy birthday.

Nicolette Gmoser-Daskalakis

Down the Rabbit Hole is an investigation into the gap between style and content. Exploring language with the cut up technique of Burroughs and Gysin, and placeholder text such as lorem ipsum (which is intentionally void of meaning) This project questions if nonsense language can be given a meaning through style. CSS is used as the styling tool to provide contrast and perhaps meaning to the texts, but how effective is it really? To what extent does style have power over content? This project was partially inspired by the "Everything is a Remix" screening and lecture in class. While content has been circulated throughout the generations and decades, the styling and presentation of it has been changing and developing. We are at an age where remixing (putting together different elements to create an entirely new work) is the norm. But what if this content was essentially nonsense? Does a remixing of it with styling techniques give it some sort of meaning? This project is exploring all these aspects and provides an experience to the user that can be confusing, but also perplexing. Can we find meaning in the Quick Brown Fox, Jabberwocky, Hare & Pineapple, Etaoin Shrdlu, Lorem Ipsum, or Karawane solely based on the stylistic presentation?

Victoria Lee

This is a collection of forgotten artifacts and stories excavated from invisible places. It uses the unbounded space of the world wide web to construct a cabinet of curiosities in which fact resembles fiction and the categorizations are fluid. Reflecting the role of the internet as a present-day Wunderkammer of Byzantine proportions, Terra In Cognita offers a microscopic reproduction of the world's unseen past through objects that infer meaning from concealed histories and unreliable sources.

Michelle Lim

Iconoclast Expedition is a piece of interactive fiction/game where the player chooses their character and makes a series of choices to try and have a successful outcome, working for the rebel cause to free the dwarves. Throughout the story, there are clues sprinkled generously that allude to the medium on which the project exists, the Internet. If a player understands the clues, they will discover the layers of mediation (told in the form loosely based on a Dungeons and Dragons game) that result in the story that the browser displays. The first layer within the source code is the script of a group of friends playing D&D. This is just commented. The second layer is the thoughts of the DM, or controller of the game, who essentially directs the whole game and actually has more power than is superficially obvious. This is commented and hidden in encryptedjava_script which can't be read in the source code. These many layers demonstrate the mediated nature of the Internet, and the direction of the story demonstrates the the actual lack of control Internet users have in their experience due to the nature of search engines, browsers and links. For example, when one searches something on Google, they have the impression that the whole of the Internet is at their fingertips, but Google's index of the Internet does not encompass everything out there. And searching is based on an algorithm, which ranks pages. This algorithm is created by Google and ranks pages according to what they think is important, not necessarily what's important to the searcher. In this way, my game mimics this by giving the illusion of choice, even though the DM (ultimately me) is orchestrating the whole affair. Have fun on your expedition!

Tell Majstorich

I created a game/quiz that assesses and challenges the idea of stereotypes and cultural distinction. The objective of this game is to learn about yourself, and the way you think. The subject matter is very provocative, very similar to many other things on the Internet. You will not be asked to write down responses or fill out any questions asked, solely to keep your thoughts as personal and authentic as possible. That’s how the Internet works, you can do and think freely while having to answer to no one. Instead of some type of reward or passing the test, you are subconsciously evaluating yourself, and society.

Garrett Rountree

“We are surrounded by surrogate memories, and have become accustomed to them as supports for usual function in an information-laden world. We could critique this, worry at the risk of losing memories by shunting them off to storage without actually encoding them in our brains. Yet there is also a way to find memory through these cues and systems, to forget and rediscover, or to come across something left by another.” - “The Dream Machine” Project, Huong Ngo. Inspired by our loss of memory over the passage of time- whether due to old age, or simply our human inability to retain information- I chose to base my project on the impacts of memory and story, and how they affect us. Are objects, to an extent, tangible forms of storage for ephemeral and ethereal memory? If we permanently rid ourselves of these objects, these reminders of our ideas, do the ideas no longer exist? These are the questions that I don’t necessarily hope to answer, but to continue to push throughout the course of my project. Captured + Stoppered is a collaborative effort that aims to create new storage spaces for memories: that in an object, in a photograph- the most commonly used form of memory depository, and in its existence in the online space. The goal is to essentially fashion new storages space for these personal memories.

Audrey Tyau

We have entered the life-casting era, where publicly sharing the details of our lives -- from the intimate to the mundane -- has become the norm. According to internet artists such as Olia Lialina, the early days of the internet portrayed a kind of sincerity; people made homepages that were highly individualized in order to represent themselves. Today, the sincerity is waning as we all project the images we want to be known for onto identical Facebook pages, tweet out witty epigrams of our supposed every move, and uniformly edit our pictures with the same Instagram filters. The intent of this project is to recapture the sincerity of the vernacular web by exposing personal spaces and vulnerable moments that would never be part of a flawless social media persona. Influenced by Lynn Hershman's piece "Lorna" and Jennifer Ringley's project "Jennicam," this project is an exploration of a woman and the space in which she lives. Like Lorna, she is portrayed as existing only within the confines of a single space, but like Jennifer, the woman and the space are real. As they survey this woman in her solitary habitat, the users should feel that they have been given a deep glimpse into a private life, and walk away feeling that they have an intimate knowledge of that life. However, the naivety of the vernacular web no longer exists; this website was created knowing that it would be viewed and judged by a contemporary audience. Therefore, although the site may portray some truths, the user will never be certain which parts of the project are a fabricated environment to facilitate a narrative, and which parts are a real person broadcasting her life online. This sense of indistinguishability forms a kind of hyperreality, where the question becomes whether or not it matters which parts are real and which have been simulated. PhilosopherUmberto Eco refers to this seamless blending of fiction and nonfiction as the creation of the "absolute fake," which the mind convinces itself is true because it seems to give more of what reality leaves wanting.

Hailey Mae Strobel