Jodi (art collective)

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Jodi, or jodi.org, is a collective of two internet artists: Joan Heemskerk (born 1968 in Kaatsheuvel, the Netherlands) and Dirk Paesmans (born 1965 in Brussels, Belgium). Their background is in photography and video art; since the mid-1990s they started to create original artworks for the World Wide Web. A few years later, they also turned to software art and artistic computer game modification.

In 1999 they began the practice of modifying old video games such as Wolfenstein 3D to create art mods like SOD.[1] Their efforts were celebrated in the 1999 Webby Awards where they took top prize in the category of "net art". Jodi used their 5-word acceptance speech (a Webby Award tradition) to criticize the event with the words "Ugly commercial sons of bitches."[2] Further video game modifications soon followed for Quake, Jet Set Willy, and the latest, Max Payne 2 (2006) to create a new set of art games. Jodi's approach to game modification is comparable in many ways to deconstructivism in architecture, because they would disassemble the game to its basic parts, and reassemble it in ways that do not make intuitive sense. One of their more well-known modifications of Quake places the player inside a closed cube with swirling black-and-white patterns on each side. The pattern is the result of a glitch in the game engine discovered by the artists, presumably, through trial and error; it is generated live as the Quake engine tries, and fails, to visualize the interior of a cube with black-and-white checked wallpaper.

Since 2002, they have been in what has been called their "Screen Grab" period, making video works by recording the computer monitor's output while working, playing video games, or coding. Jodi's "Screen Grab" period began with the four-screen video installation My%Desktop (2002), which premiered at the Plugin Media Lab in Basel. The piece appeared to depict mammoth Mac OS 9 computers running amok: opening windows cascaded across the screen, error messages squawked, and files replicated themselves endlessly. But this was not a computer gone haywire, but a computer user gone haywire. To make this video, Jodi simply pointed-and-clicked and dragged-and-dropped so frantically, it seemed that no human could be in control of such chaos. As graphics exploded across the screen, the viewer gradually realized that what had initially appeared to be a computer glitch was really the work of an irrational, playful, or crazed human.[3]

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