A BIT IN THE ABYSS
Project sponsored by
THE EAGLE LEASING COMPANY
In partnership with the
BERKMAN CENTER FOR INTERNET AND SOCIETY
Harvard University’s metaLAB has created a unique, multisensory experience that embodies the Internet Archive’s mission: to store all of the world’s knowledge in digitized form. Inside a shipping container, mirrors will reflect the the blinking indicator lights of a “Petabox,” the digital storage server designed by the Internet Archive for the networked curation of digital data. The light reflecting in all directions and the audible processing of data will create a confusing, prismatic, infinite effect of light and sound. The design and title of the project riffs on the French phrase“mise-en-abyme,” which translates as “to place in the abyss,” a position the participant will feel inside the container. The phrase evokes the existential and aesthetic condition of information storage; as we digitize recorded knowledge, it falls into a virtual abyss, one of abstraction.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
MetaLAB is a research and teaching unit at Harvard University dedicated to exploring and expanding the frontiers of networked culture in the arts and humanities. It is founded on the belief that many of the key research challenges and opportunities of our era— fundamental questions regarding experience in a connected world, democracy and social justice, the boundaries between nature and culture— transcend divisions between the arts, humanities and sciences; between the academy, industry, and the public sphere; between theoretical and applied knowledge.