Seep Between the Mortar: Sociotechnical Imaginaries in Digital Media at Tate

Lucy Bayley
2020 Stedelijk studies  
A computer sits in the stores, carefully boxed away after recently returning from exhibitions overseas. Distantly tied to the object is a "vanguard vision" of what might have been possible for the object, the museum, and the Web.[1] Diab DS-101 Computer is both a computer and an artwork.[2] It was created by Richard Hamilton after being invited by Ohio Scientific to create a minicomputer in 1983. What it eventually became evolved out of changes in technology between 1983 and 1989, as well as
more » ... nges in the company (Ohio Scientific was bought by Diab, which was then bought by Bull Computing in 1990). It appears sculptural in an exhibition, but it had another imagined future. In 1994 Tate curators received a proposal in the post from Hamilton. Would they repurpose Diab and display it, not just as an artwork but also use it as the gallery's internet server? This would mean that while on display visitors could interact with it, but it could also connect the museum to the internet. There was another element to the proposal. There were other versions of Diab DS-101 Computer: Hamilton had one in his studio in Northend (a village in Oxfordshire), there was one in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, and one in the Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Hamilton proposed Tate connect all of these versions in the "infovoid" of the internet rhizome.[3] This repurposing of the artwork as an internet server or a meeting in the "infovoid" of different "Diab's" never happened; it was too risky to place the museums' infrastructure on a single artwork on display.
doi:10.54533/stedstud.vol010.art04 fatcat:e362pbxf45frbnhe2pshffqecy