“You are very close to a person when you are on his desktop,” said Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans, who have worked together since the mid-1990s under the moniker JODI. Among the first artists to make art for the internet, they created cacophonous, browser-based work on their website wwwwwwwww.jodi.org.
JODI recorded various versions of My%Desktop in front of live audiences, connecting their Macintosh to a camcorder and capturing their interactions with the user-friendly OS 9 operating system. The resulting “desktop performances,” as the artists call them, look at ways that seemingly rational computer systems may provoke irrational behavior in people, whether because they are overwhelmed by an onslaught of online data, or inspired by possibilities for play. What appear to be computer glitches are actually the chaotic actions of a user. “The computer is a device to get into someone’s mind,” JODI explained, adding, “We put our own personality there.”