In 2009 the editorial team at Mute (in association with Autonomedia) published a collection of past magazine content under the title Proud to be Flesh: A Mute Magazine Anthology of Cultural Politics after the Net. It was an exercise in content curation, but not, as they point out, an attempt to assemble a greatest hits album. Rather, it reorganises a body of Mute’s diverse output around a selection of themes that are perhaps more apparent (up to) fifteen years later.
In many respects - through the early newspapers, magazines, websites and recent print-on-demand journals - Mute has long engaged in providing content navigation systems for internet-inspired knowledge and the darker side thereof. And they have been doing so in an era defined by its obsession with charting and re-charting the information landscape. What Proud to be Flesh does, therefore, is offer up yet another entry portal to Mute’s rich and important net-knowledge while, in its very book-i-ness, commenting on the current upheaval in text interface products.
A large installation in the Grand Entrance of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum clatters away, registering its presence in this historic hallway. Jointly commissioned (by the V & A and SAP), bit.code (2009), by Julius Popp, consists of a large panel of black and white blocks which appear to represent a curious, indecipherable code as they rotate around their frame. Periodically its units align, clearly depicting popular terms streamed live from news site feeds. In this physical form and location, this is real-time made somehow more timely. Looming over visitors, a literal staging of data being decoded, the work asserts itself as an apt entry portal to "Decode", the V & A's inaugural exhibition of contemporary digital and interactive design.