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URL-exchanging fun with net artist Jonas Lund's experiential new project

This is part of a series of articles about creative online subversion, #HackYourFuture, on Dazed Digital. A different guest-editor will discuss a different discipline everyday. This is part of online art organisation Rhizome's Heather Corcoran's comment on artists, hacking and action. As part of today's #HackYourFuture Art Takeover Rhizome's Heather Corcoran selected the artist Jonas Lund's downloadable crowd-reactive project:

We See In Every Direction is a new project from Swedish net artist Jonas Lund based in Amsterdam. Playful and interactive, the software-based artwork allows its users to surf the internet together in one browser, fighting for control of directional responsibility, much like the TV remote. With no limit as to number of participants, users are only visible to the others by their cursors flitting like flies across the window.

The result is a chaotic web experience, as participants constantly change URLs, talk to each other in search bars and frantically try to click on things before the browser is pulled somewhere new. To experience it is like being at a party where everybody talks over each other, yet something is understood in the noise.

We See In Every Direction, like a lot of Lund's work, attempts to create a collaborative experience on the internet. The first critical review of the artwork was collectively written using the programme itself. In the days after launching, users discussed the merits of the work within the address and search bars. It was a fitting place for discourse.

With others or acting solo, Lund's work can also be understood as a kind of web performance. In 2012 he made a work titled 1,164,041 Or How I Failed In Getting The Guinness Book Of World Records For Most Comments On A Facebook Post. With the piece, as the title suggests, he tried to beat the record for Facebook comments on a post, which was held by a group of women from the southern US. Though he got to the requisite number, he was found to be disqualified for using a piece of javascript that automatically added a comment every other second.

It comes as no surprise that Lund would find a software solution for his Guinness record attempt. He is a skilled coder, uploading all his artworks to the open source code repository GitHub. Used by hackers and developers alike, GitHub is a totally appropriate platform to distribute Lund’s artwork to mass audience.  Forget auctions or art fairs. Or rather, the auctions and fairs may have something to learn from Lund’s approach to openness.  

At its core, We See in Every Direction is about sharing an experience - allowing you to jam your way through the internet with other internet geeks, looking for fun. The rapid jumps from topic to topic make for an artwork that is constantly evolving and can never be repeated. It’s also as much fun to sit back and watch as it is to participate in. As Lund Tweeted recently, 'There's no right or wrong, there's only fun or boring'. We’d say his piece falls on the fun side, which is definitely all right.

Text by Thomas Gorton