@leph is a net art project titled after Jorge Luis Borges’s story, ‘The Aleph’. Borges describes the aleph as a sphere of about two centimeters that contains all outer space, with no reduction in size. The Aleph, in a metonymical sense, represents a chance to know all the dimensions of the universe constrained in a single spot, a representation of infinity.
@leph is a net art project that deals with the flux of continuous image creation through sampling and remixes on the web. It consists of a collaborative ‘platform’ in which participants are invited to modify previously uploaded images.
The @leph’s website interface is composed of a three-dimensional sphere. The participant can navigate on the surface of the 3D sphere, rotating it left or right, zooming in and out, according to the mouse movement. The surface of the sphere is populated with images that were posted by different participants. The participant can download an image, modify it and upload it back to the site. The site engine then randomly assigns the image to another area of the sphere surface.
Because all images are available to be modified and there is no definitive starting or ending point, @leph is the actualization of a continuous work in progress, of the infinite loop of creation that privileges the process over a definitive object. The participants take upon a creative co-responsibility, as they are not just invited to interpret the project, but also to take part in its constitution. As images are added, modified, the surface of the @leph is constantly reconfigured. As a rhizomatic chain, we cannot pinpoint a start or end point.
The making of a media arts project such as the @leph allowed me to explore concepts such as digital poetics, remixing and collaborative authorship. Also brought forward unexpected reflections about the frictions between collaboration and control; for instance, as much as participants altered images, the server registers every intervention as an image file, and saved the metadata of the image such as date, time and IP address of the participant who submitted it. In this perspective, the notion of collective collaboration collapses as it highlights the individual pinpointed contribution. Another unexpected issue was brought by the changing nature of technological protocols. This project used three-d rendering and flash, technologies that are now deprecated and won’t allow it to run on a browser, which is why I have to use a screenshot to share it with you.