Ursula Endlicher is a New York based artist that works in the intersection between Internet, performance and multimedia. She is well-known for translating HTML language into movement in the form of choreographies although she is generally interested in the new and possible ways of interpreting media systems and data. Ursula sees the World Wide Web as a live theatre play opened to the interaction of the audience and understands web interfaces as allegories of code. Based on this principle Ursula constantly looks for the perfect web allegory with the aim of making link structures and web architecture more physical and as a way to question the limits between the internet and the physical reality. Indeed, she translates web code into new and more creative experiences for the users and encourage them to get involved in the piece itself by submitting their own interpretations. Apart from carrying out live performances, theatre plays and installations Ursula creates online video archives; movement alphabets opened to the participation of anyone who wants to make grow this diverse reading of the web.
In one of her early pieces, Singing Website Wallpapers (2007) Ursula re-interprets the code of the three websites yahoo.com, msn.com and google.com as music an d visualization on printed patterns on wallpaper. The sound component is on real time while the wallpaper shows ¨frozen¨ source code of each website.
In this sense, she creates the html-movement-library (2007), a library based on the html language <HEAD> <BODY> <TABLE> etc. that forms a physical alphabet of web code. It consists of a web-based archive of short video clips and images that aim to visualize the architectures and language structures of websites from the user’s perspective. Using the html-library Ursula creates html_butoh (2007), a real time and web driven choreography of the “Global top 500” websites using an open to participation clip data base. As part of the HTML library series she also creates Website Impersonations: The Ten Most Visited (2006-2009) a web driven performance series that enact 10 popular websites such as Yahoo or Google.
InterACTicons (2011)looks into the language of our social networks and its capability to predefine our online actions and determine particular social habits. InterACTicons focuses on users’ behavior and asks people to rethink some common social networking terms –friend, like, share etc.- and assign them a new value. Users can submit their own “performative internet pictogram” and thus collaborate with the online library of our online activities. Apart from the online archive InterACTicons consisted of a workshop, an installation and a live performance.
Finally, one of her latest works, Dark and Light Networks(2011) are two online weather data performances during sunrise and sunset in New York City. As Ursula writes in her website the two performances are inspired by the structures of natural networks and and affected by weather and environmental changes. It consists of virtual creatures impersonated by the artist who performs “data dances” according to environmental data.
We have interviewed Ursula Endlicher through Skype to get a more clear sense of the ideas that move her to carry out such an imaginative work. The interview has been edited following Ursula’s ideas and is supported with visual content of her libraries and pieces to help in understanding all these abstract notions. If you enjoy it, feel free to enact some tags and collaborate with the growing online library!