Network Archeology

Guy Louden, Network Archeology, Cool Change Contemporary, solo exhibition, 1-23 Feb 2019

Network Archeology imagines the end of the internet. Featuring sculpture, computer hardware, software and artificial intelligence, this solo exhibition recalls the collapse of our networked age from the perspective of a post-apocalyptic future.

In the future, the internet is a distant memory. Network Archeology stages a post-net, post-apocalyptic scene in which only an isolated node of the network survives. It wraps a custom virtual assistant AI in black-boxed server hardware. This virtual assistant — in the mould of Siri or Alexa — acts as an interactive relic of our near-future. The viewer becomes speculative archeologist of a contracting, collapsing network civilisation.

A series of wall-based sculptural works act as metaphoric artefacts of contemporary technology. Front-facing is a plate of laser-engraved UV glass. Like the interface of a smartphone, this sleek and frictionless surface presents an immaterial and idealised image. The glass floats over a copper sheet, the rarefied conductive base of circuit boards — the medium of high technology since the 1980s. Framed in stainless steel and steel wire, the works remind us that the heavy-metal materiality of traditional industry still underpins the digital world.