"Shredder" and "Digital Landfill" by Mark Napier
By Carl Goodman

Mark Napier's "Shredder" is "an alternative browsing experience" that with your help slices and dices everything in its path, turning any Web page into what could be mistaken for a work of abstract digital art (though it is ultimately the tool itself that is the art). Like Diane Bertolo's "The Reader," which seems positively reverent by comparison, the "Shredder" depends on the protean and inherently manipulable way in which Web pages are stored, transmitted, and accessed. From the "bookmarks" provided by Napier in this faux browser, it is made clear that some ideal targets for his artwork are indeed other Web-based artworks.

Napier's other "parasitic" work, "Digital Landfill," uses the metaphor of a compost heap to determine its particular method of creative destruction. Unlike "Shredder," user contributions to this database of digital detritus become part of the work itself, to be experienced by future users. Second, each contribution forms a layer of the landfill and "congeals" with those sites (ten at a time) above or below it, resulting in collages that blend together elements from each of the 10 pages. But these are not your usual static collages. Original page elements such as links, forms, underlying code, and animations remain eerily functional, unaware that they have been severed from one another.

Perhaps "Digital Landfill" is a bracing metaphor for the Web itself. Or, as Napier suggests, maybe it's just a place for Web designers and programmers to scavenge for inspiration.

In any case, you are invited to try it using Reel New York.Web as fodder. With your assistance, this Web page will decompose in 5...4...3...2...1