You’ve had an experience like this before.
Maybe you went to check a website you like, only to be greeted by the message: This site can’t be reached. Maybe you wanted to rewatch that one decade-old YouTube video that makes you laugh, and realised that it’s been taken down. The last time you trawled through old articles for research, each linking to other articles that no longer exist.
You look through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, but the picture is incomplete. Images or fonts or entire pages are missing, and it’s just not like you remembered it.
Things you thought would always be there, gone overnight.
We grow disillusioned with the current state of the internet, with its algorithm-powered doomscrolls, paywalls, closed-off proprietary systems, and ad-riddled recipe sites. Meanwhile, the false promise of an eternal, decentralised third sequel to the internet gets dangled by predatory blockchain companies as the panacea for our digital ills as they actively exacerbate the intricate exploitative systems we live within.
What if so-called ‘Web3’ isn’t an inevitability? What if we want to believe in an internet that is democratic, equitable and most of all driven by community, and not for exploitative, speculative profit?
HYPER//ECHO points to our relationship with technology and the digital world, how brittle and ephemeral – often by design – its infrastructure really is, and to the fundamental human desire to preserve and pass down knowledge, even when buildings crumble down, languages wane, and hyperlinks break.
HYPER//ECHO is an ACMI commission for Gallery 5 which supports an invited Australasian artist to deliver an experimental new work specifically for the online context. It will be live and playable in Gallery 5 on 3 Apr – 1 Jul 2022.
Work commissioned through Gallery 5 will enter ACMI's collection.
A traveller's diary
Get a glimpse into writer Claire Osborn-Li's mind as she explores Firepit Collective's virtual landscape over a three-month period. New entries to this diary will be added fortnightly as the world of HYPER//ECHO evolves.
About the artist
Firepit is a weird videogames and digital art collective based in Melbourne, Australia. They are a community of creative folks who like to hang out, IRL or online.
We organise online events such as GAME-A-WEEK, ZILM NITE as well as maintain the ZONE, a virtual space for hosting events like festivals, exhibitions and launch events.
Explore art that reflects, celebrates and interrogates the internet and digital culture through a series of free virtual exhibitions and performances.