Barrett Lyon, The Opte Project. Mapping the Internet. 2003

Barrett Lyon, The Opte Project Mapping the Internet 2003

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This free, open source project was initiated by Lyon with the goal of making visual representations of metaphysical spaces. The data represented and collected here serves a multitude of purposes: modeling the Internet, analyzing wasted Internet protocol (IP) space and distribution, detecting the result of natural disasters, weather, and war, and aesthetics or art.

Gallery label from Design and the Elastic Mind, February 24–May 12, 2008.
Additional text

Lyon initiated Mapping the Internet—a free, open-source project—with the goal of making visual representations of metaphysical spaces. The data he has collected and represented serves many purposes: it models the Internet; it analyzes wasted Internet protocol (IP) space and distribution; and it detects the result of natural disasters, weather, and war. The 2003 image (left), Lyon has explained, “was based on a technology called ‘traceroute’ which actually goes over every sequence of the Internet and creates a visual trace. It would be like driving each road in the world systematically and then drawing that out.” The 2011 image (right) is based on data he gathered from the Internet’s core backbone routers: “What’s great is that feed comes from hundreds of backbones . . . and that information is then compiled into a single view. . . . It’s derived from living breathing routers. Going to that data collection method is one step in being able to generate movies of the Internet’s activity. The goal would be to do quick snapshots and render videos of the living Internet, and this method would allow that to work.”

Gallery label from Applied Design, March 2, 2013–January 31, 2014.
Digital print from photo file
Gift of the designer
Object number
© 2021 Barret Lyon
Architecture and Design

Installation views

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