I/O/D was an collaboration between Matthew Fuller, Colin Green, and Simon Pope based in the UK. Between 1993 and 2000 the group produced a number of artworks, the most widely-known of which is I/O/D 4: The Web Stalker (1997). Earlier works pushed at user-interface conventions and publishing potentials in home computing, while The Web Stalker was a technical and artistic skirmish with the World Wide Web.

Our thanks go to Rhizome and the New Museum in NYC, who recently revived this artwork, (which had lain dormant since the demise of Windows NT). The Web Stalker now runs under emulation at archive.rhizome.org/anthology/webstalker.html.

" I/O/D is a three-person collective based in London. As an acronym, the name stands for everything it is possible for it to stand for. There are a number of threads that continue through the group's output. A concern in practice with an expanded definition of the techniques/aesthetics of computer interface. Speculative approaches to hooking these up to other formations that can be characterised as political, literary, musical, etc. The production of stand-alone publications/applications that can fit on one high-density disk and are distributed without charge over various networks. " Fuller, M. (1998) ‘A Means of Mutation: notes on I/O/D 4: The Web Stalker’, Varient, (6). Available at: https://variant.org.uk/6texts/Matthew_Fuller.html.

More information at http://anthology.rhizome.org/the-web-stalker;

and at the original I/O/D website – http://bak.spc.org/iod.

For more insight into the cultural and social milieu of this work, see LONDON.ZIP: Digital Media Art In London (2003) by Armin Medosch.

Screenshot: I/O/D 4: The Web Stalker (1997)



Collaboration with Matthew Fuller & Colin Green (1993-2000)

Website: http://bak.spc.org/iod

Webby Award winner, 2000; Winner of I.D. magazine's Silver award for Interactive Media 1998; Honorary Mention Prix Ars Electronica 1998.

"I/O/D is an artists group based in London. Since 1994 they have published an irregular series of disk-sized issues. Initially starting out as a multimedia publication made in collaboration with artists, writers and people in music their work took a sceptical and exploratory view of the conventions of interface. This interest has developed in time to the production of 'speculative software' including 'I/O/D4: The Web Stalker'. All of their work and various related texts are available to download free at: bak.spc.org/iod" – Press Info (1999)

I/O/D 4: The Web Stalker

Issue Four The Web Stalker Key Developments- relocates the position of the artist in relation to proprietary software.- dynamically maps areas of the web- an application which takes the functions of a normal proprietary browser but strips it down to be rebuilt as something faster, dirtier and more predatory.

The Web Stalker is a unique example of the re-visualisation of data-space at a deep level by artists. The Web Stalker uses the fact of machinic and interpersonal communication across the network, and the technological structure and functions of the network to radically amplify or reroute them. Most artistic work on the web is channelled into providing content for web sites. These sites are bound to the way that Browsers interpret the mark-up language (HTML) which describes and formats web documents. It is the Browser's interpretation of HTML that shapes most people's conception of the Web. Despite terabytes of 'content-provision' by artists, these conventions remain impervious. They therefore remain the most dominant aesthetic on the Internet.The Web Stalker performs a technical and aesthetic operation on the HTML stream that at once refines it, produces new methods of use, ignores much of the data linked to or embedded within it, and provides a mechanism through which the deeper structure of the web can be explored and used.

I/O/D represents the coming together of Matthew Fuller, Colin Green, and Simon Pope. The group began their Web activism in 1994, with multimedia presentations via floppy disk. Their work became infamous for engulfing a computer, reducing it to a frustrating series of seemingly random generated dialogue boxes that would often crash the system. Soon after, I/O/D made the Web its target with The Web Stalker. A new type of browser, The Web Stalkeroffered a completely different interface for moving through pages on the World Wide Web. The user opens a URL, then watches as the "Stalker" blows open the structure and source code for that Web site, stripping the site of all content and design, and leaving only a two-dimensional mnemonic showing a skeletal map of how the Web is linked together." (I/O/D (2002) ‘I/O/D 4: The Web Stalker’, Leonardo, 35(5), pp. 506–506. Available at: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/19964 )

I/O/D: Earlier Work

Issue One Key developments:- The first non-US off-line interactive publication.- experimented with larger-than-screen interface- produced new types of mouse-based interaction. Contributors:Graham Harwood, Stephen Metcalf, Scanner, Mark Amerika

Issue Two Key Developments:- the first interactive publication navigated solely by sound- began critique of Apple's noun-verb interface grammar- developed use of mouse as analogue to digital instrument. Contributors: Maxine Boobyer, Critical Art Ensemble, Peter Plate, Jason Skeet and Dean Whittington

Issue Three Key Developments:- mixed applications and content- opened up a space in and between applications- misused existing features of the operating system- provided critique of 'immersive' multimedia and opened up space to off-screen interaction. Contributors:Ronald Sukenick, Paquito Bolino, London Psychogeographical Association