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Active Metaphor
Author(s):
(unknown)
Institution:
Limiteazero, Milan, Italy
Year:
2002
URL:
http://www.limiteazero.com/carnivore/index.html
Project Description:
Limiteazero is an architecture, media design and media art studio based in Milan, Italy. Among it's rich portfolio in installation/exhibition design, sound design and new media, they created a Carnivore client with audio/visual feedback, entitled Active Metaphor.

The basis of the project is the "Carnivore" engine, a software application that listens to all internet traffic on a specific local network. Carnivore was created by RSG and has won Golden Nica at Ars Electronica and an honorable mention at read_me 1.2.

The authors made a script that gets the ip address ("aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd"), and breaks it down into four different groups of numbers ("aaa", "bbb","ccc", "ddd"). These elements are used as coordinates for 3D shapes and blending percentages ("x", "y", "z", "blend"). They choose to work with ip addresses because: "it's the main data that identifies an Internet relationship. Users identify their interaction by requesting ip addresses, even if they're not aware of it. Each ip address flowing over the net could be thought of as a human action, a communication, or an experience."

This piece of work lets the user see and hear the data flow, which is something that we normally can't perceive. It allows us to see the net as a huge data field that is constantly moving, like a digital life-form that feeds itself with human interaction.

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Manuel Lima | VisualComplexity.com