Joan Heemskerk (b. 1968, Kaatsheuvel, the Netherlands) and Dirk Paesmans (b. 1965, Brussels, Belgium) formed the artist duo JODI in 1995. They met in 1992 at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. Their practice emerged in the innovative technological environment of Silicon Valley, during a residency at the CADRE Laboratory for New Media at San José State University. Foreseeing the internet’s potential and prominence, they were among the first to engage with the nascent web as an artistic medium — simply out of material curiosity, and before it became an omnipresent communication technology and global system of networks.
Investigations into the digital as material object and medium became both the content and context of their work. As self-taught programmers and coders, the duo dissect the hardware and software of computers, video games, web browser interfaces, and internet platforms to reveal their technical minutiae and digital rhetoric. They then reconstruct these systems into collages of commands and codes that expose potential errors and dysfunctionality. In doing so, they render a unique digital aesthetic — raw, textured, inelegant, and at times confusing — that is contrary to the perceived virtues, standardization, and order of technology.
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