From the look of it the black external hard drive placed on the plinth is recognisable as an object ofdesire sold at media stores all over the world. Its cool minimalist aesthetic invokes the authority of technology. It is a black box that efficiently and securely protects what is inside. However, the invisible content tells a different story. The people behind Art 404 have illegally downloaded and collected 5 million dollars worth of copyrighted software, from AutoCAD to fiction books, that in size adds up to the 1 terabyte capacity of the hard drive. The object embodies a challenge to intellectual property rights. How are we to relate to this ambiguous object, at once beautiful, effective and unlawful? Is the hard drive a contemporary version of the black monolith that in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) seems to influence the course of humankind? If so, in what direction is it taking us?
Image: Art 404 (taken by Manuel Palou)