In October 2005 I visited the exhibition World Wide Wrong in Montevideo, the institute for media art in Amsterdam. This exhibition showed an overview of the works of the Dutch/Belgium art collective Jodi. Untitled Game (Jodi, 2006) was one of the works that was on display. Untitled Game is a CD (and a web site) containing twelve heavily modded versions of the videogame QUAKE 1 (id software, 1996). My confrontation with this work was disturbing, since I used to play the game a lot when I was young. The game was broken and glitched and winning seemed to be impossible. Sometimes only the original sounds made me recognize Quake. After reading some more about the work and the collective it self, I fell in love with it and decided to dedicate my thesis to them. Through time I collected a lot of heir works, but I still have problems when I try to oversee their complete oeuvre. In another work, Morse, Jodi appears to send messages to people that pass it by.
“In MORSE, a film of a flashing light bulb was projected (a ‘night light accordion’). A small disco ball reflects the light. The flashing of the light is controlled by a computer program that translates Morse code into impulses, a program that is used by radio-amateurs. […] Paesmans: It actually started as more of a joke, that it’s a Morse is actually not so very important. The message is just random words, even though the Morse code is real.”The empty code of Morse can be read as an example of Jodi’s general intent to make something without content or detail and their tendency towards abstraction, which is inherent to almost all of their work. For a long time, Jodi didn’t speak about their work in public, nor did they call themselves artists. Throughout the years, this attitude seems to have changed. The works %20NETWORK en 100 | BAKLAVA are examples of this shift, since Jodi situate themselves actively within the art world. In my thesis I put Jodi literally on a torture rack, to Quarter their body into four perspectives. In the first perspective I touch upon the contradiction between high and low art, via Critical Theory. In the second perspective try to esthetically perspective (in this chapter I use the aesthetics in an the active sense, not in the passive contemplative way) subsequently I put the work in a historical perspective (both an art historical and a technological historical perspective) and wrote a chapter on the ephemeral … I handed in my thesis (Dutch) in June 2006. So it is already quite dated.
You can find my Thesis here and the attachments here. The thesis is in Dutch but since I never put it online I thought today would be the day.