Golan Levin and Collaborators

Flong Blog + News

Alphabet Synthesis Machine (2001) restored

20 April 2008 / announcement, site_update, thanks

After 16 months of being offline, the Alphabet Synthesis Machine is now back. The ASM was commissioned in 2001 by Art21, and created in collaboration with Jonathan Feinberg and Cassidy Curtis. Huge props to Jonathan for getting this up and working again in his spare time.

The ASM had gone down due to a disk crash at my host. This taught me a thing or two about the fragile web we live in, and got me thinking grim thoughts about mortality (my own, and that of my data). Needless to say, to abuse a quote from John Gilmore, the Internet did not interpret my disk crash as censorship and route around it; instead, I found myself with the unglamorous prospect of resuscitating and maintaining a project from seven years ago. [I was reminded of a story Maeda once told me, about a significant pioneer of Japanese kinetic art, who gave up making sculpture in his later years because he got fed up receiving phone complaints about broken artworks in the middle of the night.] Well, web-wizard Mr. Feinberg came to the rescue and the ASM is restored (a tiny window into pre-911 Net.art!). The remaining casualty: several thousand user-created alphabets from 2003-2007 have been irretrievably lost.

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