10 July 2012

Ruins by Alain Vonck



Alain Vonck is a Paris based recent graduated in graphic design. He just presented his thesis master project called Ruins. It's about what "remains" of the Internet 1.0. What are these ruins which lay dormant somewhere in databases? How can they be revived? reinterpreted graphically?
As Alain says, Ruins thus allows us to visualize the internet of the past before the arrival of web designers and social networks. This project also aims at archiving the data collected in an editorial object. See more;

"To assess the world wide web will be to mention its incredible technological evolution, its influence on the real world, its ability to adapt to the needs of a new generation ... But internet is also an art, an aesthetic, a pop culture, and a vernacular language mostly ignored by today’s users. Becoming a mass media, internet is subject to perpetual update. It is in present time and novelty yet remains an extraordinary archiving tool. If the web saves history perfectly, its own past is buried in obsolete databases.
Who can remember a website design from 1995? Maybe some enthusiastic users from the beginning who experienced Internet as Utopian media, media of the future. Everything was allowed, the best and the worst.
Often associated with bad taste, the beginning of internet was fast forgotten, only to give way to professional web designs and minimalist layouts.
The geocities, personal homepages, testify to this “amateur” state of mind. Still available for consultation in October 2009, they are now obsolete and have totally disappeared from the web, provoking a strong activist mobilization for their backup. There are still some ruins: pages left un-deleted, bugs of icons, old gifs.. So some projects have been created, such as Internetarchives.com, which, by the contribution of persons sensitive to the subject, allow for the recovery of past data. John Scott, who declared: “[Yahoo!] found the way to destroy the most massive amount of history in the shortest amount of time with absolutely no recourse”, is one of these contributors. He has even created and shared a downloadable file of 1 terabyte of geocities pages. It's in this context that this work, Ruins, investigates three prisms of research based on the vernacular language of internet and its anchoring in pop culture. To collect, to archive, to reuse, to reinterpret are the watchwords of this visual anthology of the World Wide Web. It is not about regretting a bygone era but rather showing and remembering its existence. Ruins thus allows us to visualize the internet of the past before the arrival of web designers and social networks. This project also aims at archiving the data collected in an editorial object.

At first the research aims at determining what "remains" of the internet 1.0. What are these ruins which lay dormant somewhere in databases? How can they be revived? reinterpreted graphically? Studying the research of Olia Lialina, pioneer of net art, we can perceive a parallel between the Art and Craft movement and “primitive” Web imagery.
Secondly, the term “to surf” and “surfers” to designate users of that time is analyzed. It is question of “amateur” culture, of those users who embodied the Web in the 1990s. A collection of typographic characters in ASCII and e-zine paints their portrait. Also, this axis of study will allow us to record the complexity of internet browsing at that time.
Finally , research on the first virtual worlds, today abandoned, will give us new insight into the social dimensions of internet… at the beginning." - Alain Vonck.




Ruins, internet vernaculaire  & culture pop, 2012
27 x 36cm - 240 pages

“Coming into contact with an outdated web page is an important lesson, which questions the impression that on the net, everything always happens in the present..” - Olia Lialina.

What remains from the early days of the World Wide Web?

Ruins is an exploration, 
Archeological, Digital. 
Ruins is witness, Ruins is revelation, 
Highlighting the historical, the fictional, 
Fragments of the virtual, 
Figments of the imagination. 
Ruins claims the forgotten heritage 
Of awkward aesthetics 
Ruins is language, 
Vernacular, 
Popular, 
“Welcome to my homepage”. 
Ruins questions amateur culture, 
Subversion, radicalization, 
Gif animation. 
Ruins is Internet, 
Surging out from venerated obsolescence 
Bursting forth with liberated adolescence...