The Web is an environment defined by language and protocols, designed and written by us. Within its structure, its code, are political, economical and aesthetic assumptions buried, just as any language carries inexplicit meanings. The ability to actually see this data can help us understand the environment that we are collectively creating and many of us are living in and through. (Even if we are not directly engaging with the Web or the Internet in or daily life I would argue that it is changing our lives just as any technological invention before such as the camera or television).

The Infome Imager is a software for creating visualizations of the environment created by the Internet protocol HTTP - the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. HTTP is the protocol responsible for the Web, the part of the Internet that triggered an economical and technological upswing of unfathomable proportions in the nineties. While the Web was interesting as a conductor for the dot com era, its role as an environment for information exchange and as a social space, it has proven to have other even more interesting features. Just as its creator Berners-Lee had hoped for, it can be looked on as a carrier of knowledge about us, as a humans, as a species. It holds an enormous amount of data regarding our interests, activities and exchanges. Moreover, lately, the type of networks formed by the inter-linked documents of the Web has shown to display lifelike qualities and the Web has been pointed out as en environment to research in order to create a greater understanding of networks in general, sociological and even biological. Now, the Web is much more interesting seen as an organism than as a delivery mechanism or space. Creating an understanding of the creature emerging through the use of HTTP also has a political importance. The protocols of the Internet were not developed by corporations, they are not proprietary. They mainly developed through open discussions (facilitated by the RFC system) and groups of academic researchers. Even though the hypertext transfer protocol was the brainchild of one person it was developed within that tradition. The Internet protocols are open to be implemented by anyone that wants to write clients and server software using them and they are to a large extent open for any one to develop and change on the actual protocol level as well. While the development of wireless technologies and protocols are exciting for many reasons, including the sense of freedom they bring to the end user, those technologies are to a large extent developed by corporations and are on many levels not free to develop and use by the general population. As corporations have taken over from academia and idealistic individuals as a driving force behind emerging network technologies, its counter culture, the open source movement, is growing stronger as well. The Internet protocols and HTTP are the conceptual (and of course technical) ancestors of that movement.
~ home