The deleted City
The piece entitled “The Deleted City” is work created by Richard Vijgen using a large database of sources. To understand the context of this New Media artwork we much first look into its history which is the base and its source called GeoCities. Geocities was originally started as a metaphor of a virtual city where users could place their page in a certain city based on the context of their page. For example tech related sites would be placed in “Silicon Valley” or entertainment would fall in the “Hollywood” category. However these locations were just categories, the cities served as nothing more than a metaphor for the directory or folder a page was under. Years later in 2009 social networking sites such as
Myspace and Facebook had become popular to the extent where Geocities had been shut down. By this point in time however approximately 38
million pages had already been created. The shutdown prompted a number of archival teams to save the pages and data accumulated; the most successful one saved 650 gigabytes worth of data and released it in the form of a torrent. Inspired by the idea of a virtual data city artist Richard Vijgen set out to build “The Deleted City”. The Deleted City was just that, an abandoned neighborhood of pages, midi file, gifs, and other image files/data presented in the form of an architectural city map. Zoomed out on the touch screen the user can see they city environment as if looking at an aerial map. Using the touch screen interface the user can then zoom in to block level down to the individual page and file. What Richard Vijgen essentially did was create an actual virtual city with the residents being the files themselves, no longer are places metaphors for the directories but rather actual physical places within a virtual environment. The sizing of cities and neighborhoods are based off of the amount of actual pages and files and zooming to the page level will automatically start the midi file associated with that page. Vijgen originally wanted to find a gallery to display this work in but believes that an iPad application may work just as well. This work has some interesting aspects to it; it uses an archive of items and creates a virtual environment to walk through. Not only does the visual structure set this apart but his work also serves as a historical record of the internet.