Warning! Samurai.remix is not for the faint of heart, or for virophobes (those with an intense fear of computer viruses). Seriously.

This piece really illuminates our current culture’s fear of computer viruses (or at least mine). I do not think this was the main focus of the piece, but I’m sure the artist was aware of how people would react if they accidentally stumbled onto the site. Personally, if more than one pop-up window appears, I start getting anxious; when they started appearing by the dozens in Samurai.remix, I really started freaking out.

I think the real focus of the piece was to explore the use of the web browser as a dynamic medium, in a way that hadn’t been seen before. Artists have put content into a web browser, but rarely does the web browser itself become part of the art piece, as in Samurai.remix. The lack of control is rather terrifying at first, amplified by the first audio clip you hear: “All necessary modifications have been completed”; new windows pop up and move around the screen before closing, sci-fi sounds emerge and disappear in what seems to be a random score, and flashing pop-ups give you the option, “Click here to CRASH your computer”.

However, once you are brave enough to start clicking around, you discover that there are more layers to the site and more interesting things to view; one of my favorites was a window with “Pacman vs. Pikachu”. The site is really quite intriguing once you realize that your computer isn’t succumbing to a virus, and also a technical marvel (I can’t fathom how to do anything so complex, nor even guess how long it took to create such a thing). But, I don’t think I will ever find the strength to click the button to “Crash my computer”. There is too much at stake if it really does so, which I think is another point the artist is trying to point out: just how much we value the content on our computers.

via http://blue.mmlc.northwestern.edu/~atpda-rcr472/critiques.html

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