Data Flow Drawings

The idea of initiating trace routes has made me reconsider the boundaries of drawing. Whilst trying to recreate the route undertaken by the Nao Victoria I have felt as though I have been discovering the drawing rather than shaping it. This has been an unusual, but interesting approach for me.

It has also caused me to consider the Internet itself as a medium for drawing using the IP addresses of individual computers. Though Internet data does not flow in straight lines or reliably in the direction that you want it to flow in, I think with close study of Internet routes it would be possible to start to form very simple drawings. Of course this would involve people from all over the world much like my current project; perhaps a digital artist collective. Alternatively it could be undertaken by one person but with a lot of air miles!

It would be difficult to form simple pre-determined images, although possible, but I think it would perhaps be more interesting to form a drawing series of abstract images based upon pre-determined factors. For instance, it would be interesting to ask each of your Facebook friends to perform a trace route back to your IP address, hence showing their digital connectivity to you, a new way of representing your friend network. If you could ask say, 10 people from different locations around the world to do the same thing, each with an average of 200 friends (and hence 200 trace routes to perform with an average of 15 IP addresses to plot per trace route) there could be some very interesting results. Although this would entail plotting approximately 30,000 IP addresses on a map! Of course any number of pre-determined factors could be used, creating a myriad of different results and hence different drawings, each showing our connectivity to the planet we live on, and the infinite number of connections that can be made. For me, art is all about making connections, be that connecting to an idea or ideal, an artist or subject, or simply ourselves. Perhaps data flow drawings have a place in art history after all.

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