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Studer / van den Berg
filter: four letter words

Monica Studer and Christoph van den Berg are among Switzerland’s pioneers of media art; they have been addressing the artistic possibilities of this new platform since the mid-1990s. The three so-called filter works, which were created between 1996 and 1998, can be seen today as historical snapshots. According to the artists themselves, they "deal with the then totally new artistic instrument of hypertext at the level of pictorial translations." 

The first work, filter: four letter words, is a reference to children’s games in which one letter of a word is exchanged, resulting in a different word and association. The hypertext structure of the World Wide Web makes it possible to implement this principle using simple algorithms. After a swift search, the algorithm generates more and more combinations. 

In a playful way, the work refers to the aimless surfing of the Internet and connects the new technological possibilities, which were still in their infancy at the time, with widespread practices in children’s games. 

(Text: Sabine Himmelsbach)

Title: filter: four letter words
Year: 1997 – 1998
Format: Software, Interaktiv, Internet, Netzkunst, Online
Material / Technology: For the original version: 726 HTML files and 726 GIF files; for the 2016 version: 726 HTML files, 726 GIF files and 1 CSS file Screen: 640 x 480 px – 1920 x 1080 px; desktop computer, e.g., Netscape 2.0 / Windows 98; HTML 5 or CCS 3 browser, e.g., Firefox 47.0 / Windows XP
Dimension: Variable
Acquisition: Acquired with funds from the Freiwilligen Museumsverein of Basel in 2016. On permanent loan from the Freiwilligen Museumsverein of Basel. Inv. No. S0015.