Posted by cory arcangel | Sat Dec 14th 2002 1 a.m.

Written a few months ago, the following was recently published in the
current issue of Chicago's "Select Magazine" -> The article describes the making of my
Carnivore client in detail. Currently the project has been moved back into
my studio to undergo some repairs [during the Eyebeam AIR show it had some
problems dealing with tons of internet traffic]

Thank you,
Cory Arcangel / BEIGE


On October 1, 2001, The Radical Software Group (RSG), a lose international
collective of "internet artists", announced the release of Carnivore.
Carnivore is collaboration consisting of two parts. The first part is the
Carnivore application, a public domain copy of the FBI surveillance
software DCS1000 [commonly nicknamed Carnivore]. DCS1000 is a program
developed by the FBI to "wire tap" Internet data. RSG's Carnivore
essentially performs the same task as the FBI's software though runs on
Windows 98/2000 as a standalone application and can be downloaded for free
[]. For example if one installed the
Carnivore application on their computer at work, Carnivore could see all
the emails, web-pages received or transmitted, and attached documents ones
co-workers were passing around the internet. This is possible because
TCP/IP data is based on an open broadcast model which when put simply
means that all data is sent through every point on the local network. The
second part consists of client applications that turn the raw Internet
data captured by Carnivore into "art". So far artists such as Alex
Galloway, Mark Napier, and Mark Daggett have programmed carnivore
Carnivore clients that convert network traffic to sound, animation and 3d

This is where the BEIGE programming ensemble comes into play. Last year
representing BEIGE, I was asked to program a Carnivore client. Though I
had experience with hacking Nintendos, writing songs on my Atari 800, and
routinely sifting through my regular route of NYC Salvation Armies for
computers made before mice became popular, I had limited experience
programming Internet art. This is mainly because the computers one finds
at thrift stores are generally too old to even know about the internet,
and programming on new computers seems silly to me. So for a few months I
stalled on the project. About ready to just give in and make something
totally wack, I discovered the Macintosh Quadra line of computers. For
those not in the know, about a decade ago, Macintosh released a line of
computers called Quadra A/V's. Note that A - V stands for audio and
video. Quadra's are basically the early 90's G4 powerbook [and for
everyone who just bough a electro new wave compilation, I got news for
you, the 80's aren't cool anymore. The early 90's are where it's at...
use your illusions, heavy D, prime UK Acid House, Bel Biv Devoe, & scud missles
ring any bells?]. Quadra's can edit video, hook up to a normal TV, play
CD quality audio, and connect to the Internet through Ethernet or a modem.
Some are even started with a key [how post-punk is that?]. The best part
about it is that all that fun has started showing up in Salvation Armies
for about 30$. Wicked.

So now that I had a platform, I needed an idea. Given the current trend
in Internet art of abstract data visualization I knew I needed to make
something which had nothing to do with abstract data visualization [best
for me to leave that to others,...]. Therefore my task was to find a
subject which could stand on its own as a polar opposite to values
champoined in abstract conceptual comptuer art. Enter: The Boo-Yaa Tribe,
five simonan brothers and a cousin who's 1990 debut "New Funky Nation"
alone qualified them for the job. With a subject matter in hand, a month
or so later I ended up with "The Boo-Yaa Counter / BEIGE Home
Entertainment System [or whatever else you want to call it]".
This home entertainment system uses the spied
internet data Carnivore gives me, and counts only for the phrase "boo-yaa
tribe" by displaying the number of times the phrase floats across the
network on a TV screen.

What could be better than sitting at home and having a TV screen count the
number of times your housemates search for, download, or access
information about the boo-yaa tribe? Or if is is installed at your
workplace [the boo-yaa counter is currently installed at the office of
Eyebeam Atelier in Manhattan], suddenly noticing the number on the TV
screen skyrocket and realizing that one of your co-workers has veered off
his/her paid duties by visiting thinking no one would
notice? Or lastly having the counter installed at a museum only to find
that in the same building where you can by a book on Jasper Johns, or see
some hot new conceptual artist someone was on the internet emailing about
the boo-yaa tribe? The boo-yaa counter can provide this entertainment /
public service.

One the following pages I have included an ad campaign featuring the
Boo-Yaa Counter in action. This was a collaboration with NYC fashion
designer / photographer Aya T. Kanai. She designed and made the fashions
specifically for the shoot using much the same technique as I did to make
my entertainment module as all clothes were construced from sraps of
thriftstore bought material. The model has asked not to be identified but
I will add that we are starting a band called "chubby boyzzzz" together
and the band consists of 3 people. My brother, my sister and I. Special
thanks to Erik Vidal for donating his Tribeca apt for the shoot. Note:
these images can also be seen in online form as a May Artport
commission gate page for the Whitney:

Aya T. Kanai contact:
Cory Arcangel contact: [or contact anyone at BEIGE
and it will get to me].
Carnivore Home:
BEIGE Carnivore home:
Boo Yaa Home:


Harvestworks, Digital Media Arts Center
596 Broadway Suite 602
New York NY 10012
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