Kandinsky? Da Vinci?


XScreenSaver is info-protoart

If you're looking for folk expressions of infoart (and who wouldn't), check out XScreenSaver. This wonderfully simple system is the standard screensaver on Linux, and it shows how the stock Windows screensavers are an insult to the genre.

Each screensaver is humbly called a hack, and each hack is a small program that displays an interesting animation on the screen. Interesting is the key word here, and probably an understatement. Most people who are in the room become mesmerized by them - my cat too! I wish I was such a hacker.

The Return of Balance, a Wii-generation game

I am not a computer gamer. My favourite computer games were Pac-Man, Tetris, River Raid, Time Pilot, Commando, then Castle Wolfenstein and Doom. I pretty much stopped at the shoot'em-up, perhaps because I'm so lazy.

But when I played tennis on Nintendo Wii at a friend's place, I knew I had found a gaming platform I could start enjoying again. To me it was the fact that I was /standing/ in front of the TV, and moving my arms and my wrists to hit the ball, as in the real game. Suddenly a whole new dimension of computer gaming opened up for me.

Because things never happen on their own, it so happened that a few months later I was invited to meet Gregory Niemeyer, a computer artist from UC Berkeley who was demoing his new game on the streets of Cairo, courtesy of the Townhouse Gallery. The game is called the Return of Balance, and it allows players to control a virtual paddle by shifting their weight on a platform equipped with sensors. The paddle is used to deflect bouncing balls inside moving hoops - all this in software of course, displayed on a wall via a projector. It reminded me of my wind-surfing days when I learned to keep my balance, hence the name.

Was ist infoart?


To me, it is artistic expression about abstract concepts (mathematics, language, poetry, software, philosophy, media, etc. all leading up to information). For example, Kandinsky made infoart.

To be contrasted with digital art, which just uses the digital medium but does not necessarily address abstract topics.

This meme definitely exists, although different people might have different definitions. To see what's going on there, check out my infoart tag on


My friend Islam made this. He once told me his vision of a world language where letters from all alphabets are used. I like that!

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