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Are You Human? Aram Barthoil

posted Jan 30, 2013, 8:41 PM by Ellen Pearlman

Are You Human? Aram Barthoil

Aram Barthoil is a German hacker/activist/thinker/tinker/ cool guy about town from mittleEurope. He focuses on reverse engineering  the human/computer interface. What I mean by reverse engineering is he is interested in the virtual worlds we construct, and making them real, instead of real worlds being made virtual.

Aram’s book, “The Speed Book?” just launched at a party at Eyebeam Gallery in New York. From what I can see he flips between 2D and 3D. Here is a picture of his taking some spray graffiti of those ubiquitous CAPTCHA codes and making it into a cut metal embossed plate, stuck over graffiti,  like a Swoon of the hacker crowd.

Barthoil installing real CAPTCHA CODE graffiti rendered as 3D

Sample CAPTCHA CODE  you might see on your screen

CAPTCHA code as grafitti - which is the spray and which is 3D from a screen?

His book ” explores the power structures, the social systems, the cultural innovations, the inner dynamics, the languages, and the products that are shaping our age. This first comprehensive monograph offers entry to an oeuvre in which space and cyberspace mingle and mangle each other, a realm that uses as little technology as possible while still speaking a digital language.”

This is quite significant.

Aram does things like takes those red map markers of Goggle maps and anchors them into real space, meaning he makes sculptural installations out of them.

Which is the real one and which is the virtual one?

In this push for making 3D representations of objects, thoughts, and the virtual as holographic, Barthoil creates a skewered approach by taking on what is essentially an on-line semiotics in and of itself. CAPTCHA code and red markers were not made to be real 3D off-line objects. They are digitized signs and symbols created exclusively as virtual indicators. In the case of the CAPTCHA code, it exists to fool or foil bots, spiders and crawlers and make sure you are the human you say you are. The Google red markers exist to locate virtual points on a geographic map, and navigate the user through a virtual screen. By reverse engineering the signs and symbols of on-line life, Barthoil questions the race towards a computer mediated perfected functionality of means.