The botnet can’t be seen. Its success depends upon invisibility: this illusion of autonomy is necessary for achieving supremacy within a network. This project explores ways of visualizing the infrastructure of the botnet. From a branding system, to generative posters, the project culminated in a performance orienting the viewer within a mountain of tweets.
For the project, I created an experimental brand for the botnet. The first brand principal, default typeface, is easily put into practice. All that’s needed is to type the word botnet in a default monospace. Next is the grid. The grid is applied dimensionally, determined by the window width, or size of printed collateral. The grid is a reference to pixels, but moreover, it establishes a sense of network control. Naturally the grid leads into the data structure. This is the final component of the brand. Like the botnet itself, this cannot be seen directly, but it is felt within the brand.
At this point I realized that my efforts had been limited to two dimensions. This seemed counterproductive and severely limited the potential of the project. I began to experiment with ways to introduce the botnet into space. To this end I began with projections, streaming lines of tweets onto various surfaces. From cement to the walls of a server room, the projections sparked interesting questions of materiality and recursivity.
Finally, I created a sculptural experience, hoping to orient the viewer within the botnet. It was important to created an experience that employed material methods. Engaging with the viewers' senses helped to put the botnet into perspective. While this method didn't offer any navigational advantages (it didn't help the viewer understand) it did allow the viewer to come to terms with network scale and information flows.
Built with open source software
Typeset in Nocturne, CSTM Xprmntl 03 & William Caslon