Human Browser

 A human being embodies the World Wide Web

 A project by Christophe Bruno (2001 - ongoing)


Human Browser
is a series of wireless Internet performances based on a Wi-Fi Google hack

Thanks to its headset, the actor hears a text-to-speech audio that comes directly from the Internet in real-time. The actor repeats the text as he hears it. The textual flow is actually fetched by a program (set up on a Wi-Fi laptop) that hijacks Google, diverting it from its utilitarian functions. Depending on the context in which the actor is, keywords are sent to the program and used as search strings in Google (thanks to a Wi-Fi PDA) so that the content of the textual flow is always related to the context.

As the world-system reaches its limitations (depletion of natural resources, expected end of low-cost labour, the end of the ideology of liberalism, the fading of desire, etc.), capitalism uses the irony of history to try to relaunch its paradoxical machinery by pushing back its internal limits: freedom of speech is revealed to be the prerequisite for the scientific colonization of intimacy; global terrorism and reality TV feed a spectacle regulated by the panoptical enslavement mechanism of the blogosphere; "Irational Behaviour" that was for long seen as the limit of any economical theory becomes the new field for the externalisation of advertising costs.

Internet, with the advent of global symbolic networked structures of the web 2.0 like Google, has thus become an unrivalled tool for surveillance and control. Its economic dynamics relies on trend analysis and prediction of what you think at any time so as to be able to sell you what will fulfil you: statistically analyzing your least thoughts, acts and desires - not as individuals but as postmodern statistical sets - so as to predict your "Irational Behaviour". In this pact you exchange a promise of happiness against a narrowing of your intimacy. You become predictable, transparent, commonplace even in your wildest dreams...

Human Browser, the perpetual dandy, embodies this "Irational Behaviour".

It is based on my former piece Epiphanies (2001), one of the first Google Hacks, inspired by J. Joyce.

Affari Italiani
Sydney Morning Herald
Liberation (1)
Liberation (2)
Liberation (3)
Le Monde
01informatique (1) (2)

We are preparing other performances in different locations and contexts, in English, German, French, Italian and Chinese.

Concept & programming: Christophe Bruno
Actors: Jérôme Piques / Manon Kahle / Beccy Iland / Simona Sagone / Alessandra Lappano

Session 17 - Human Browser at HMKV, Dortmund - from 22th March 2013 to 28th June 2013

Human Browser performance at HMKV, Dortmund.

Exhibited at HMKV, Dortmund: HIS MASTER'S VOICE: On Voice and Language. Opening Friday 22 March 2013, 7 pm. With Christophe Bruno (FR), Erik Bünger (SE), William S. Burroughs & Anthony Balch (US), Aslı Çavuşoğlu (TR), YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES (KR), Dortmunder Sprechchor (DE), Jakup Ferri (KOS), Jochen Gerz (DE), Richard Grayson (UK), Asta Gröting (DE), Daniel Hofer (DE), Anette Hoffmann / Andrea Bellu / Matei Bellu / Regina Sarreiter (DE), International Institute of Political Murder (CH), Ignas Krunglevicius (LT/NO), Bruce Nauman (US), Stefan Panhans (DE), Julius Popp (DE), Laure Prouvost (FR/UK), Kathrin Resetarits (AT), Peter Rose (US), Manuel Saiz (ES), Anri Sala (AL), Richard Serra with Nancy Holt (US), Katarina Zdjelar (SR/NL), Artur Zmijewski (PL) and others. Curated by Inke Arns.

Session 16 - Human Browser at NIMK, Amsterdam - May 29, 2010

May 29, 2010: Human Browser performance at NIMk(Netherlands Media Art Institute), Amsterdam, in Dutch & English with actress Lieke Jetten.

Performmikka Internettikka is an evening with internet/teleperformances by Annie Abrahams, Christophe Bruno, Constant Dullaart, Robin Nicolas and Igor Stromajer & Brane Zorman, focused on the relations between contemporary performance practice and the internet. Curated by Petra Heck.

Session 15 - Marathon Human Browser at Instants Chavirés, Montreuil - May. 15, 2010

May. 15, 2010: performance of Human Browser with Jérôme Piques Instants Chavirés, Montreuil, - "Take Shape - Make Shift" an exhibition by Charlie Jeffery.

Session 14 - Human Browser at SMAK/Vooruit, Ghent - Apr. 3, 2010

April 3 to June 13, 2010: Human Browser is presented at S.M.A.K. (Museum of Contemporary Art of Ghent) in the exhibition Electrified 02 - Hacking public space curated by Eva DeGroote and Thibaut Verhoeven. Artists exhibited are Ben Benaouisse, Carlos Rodriguez-Méndez, Amilcar Packer, Simona Denicolai & Ivo Provoost, Dogma00, Javier Núñez Gasco, Roberta Gigante, Messieurs Delmotte, Wilfredo Prieto, Miet Warlop, Helmut Smits, Christophe Bruno, Pierre-Laurent Cassière.

For the opening, Human Browser was performed in English, French and Flemish by Ariane Loze. Watch the video (sequence 6).

Session 13 - Talk with Human Browser at Ars Longa, Paris - Mar. 13, 2010

March 13th, 2010, from 17h00: I gave a talk with writer Christian Salmon (Storytelling, La Découverte, 2007, Kate Moss Machine, La Découverte, 2010 ?), at galerie Ars Longa. The talk was held together with a performance of my project Human Browser (with Jérôme Piques) who made people visit the exhibition "Les paradoxes du petit monde" together with curator Judith Lavagna.

Session 12 - Human Browser at the Boutique d'Ecriture, in Toulouse - Jan. 28, 2010

Jan. 28, 2010, Sonde 01#10, La Chartreuse. Human Browser performance at the Boutique d?Ecriture du Grand Toulouse, by three different actors: Raphaëlle Bouvier, Maxime Potard and Annabelle Verhaeghe. I also gave a talk. Videos are available on Selfworld.

Session 11 - Human Browser in Avignon - Apr. 25, 2009

Apr. 25, 2009: performance of Human Browser with Sabine Revillet at the Sonde ?04#09 - as you like it - les écritures du web -?. La Chartreuse, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.

Session 10 - Human Browser in Toulouse - Apr. 23, 2009

Apr. 23, 2009: Louise Boudevin is the Human Browser, at the festival Empreintes Numériques, Toulouse.

photography by Claude Fournié

Session 9 - Human Browser at the Biennale of Sydney 2008

June 18 to Sept. 7, 2008: Human Browser has been selected by this year?s Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, chief curator of Castello di Rivoli, to participate to revolutions online one of the venues of the Biennale of Sydney 2008.

?The 2008 Biennale of Sydney is presented at some of Sydney?s finest harbourside sites and visitors can take the Biennale ArtWalk from venue to venue along the water?s edge. For the first time the exhibition will utilise the astonishing former prison and shipyard, Cockatoo Island. For the fifth time Sydney?s only remaining undeveloped historical wharf - Pier 2/3 in Walsh Bay - will feature as a venue.

Sydney?s leading arts institutions, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Artspace will again be dedicated to the country?s foremost international art event. Specific events and artworks will be presented at the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Sydney Opera House, plus in 2008, we are thrilled to present the first Online Venue for a biennale worldwide.?

Session 8 - Human Browser wins the Share Festival, Torino - Jan 23-28, 2007

Jan. 23 - 28, 2007: Human Browser wins the Share Festival. The jury was:

Carolyn Christov Bakargiev, chief curator Castello di Rivoli
Joasia Krysa, curator & senior lecturer University of Plymouth
Alex Adriaansen, director V2 di Rotterdam
Vicente Matallana, director La Agencia di Madrid
Gerfried Stocker, director Ars Electronica Festival di Linz

The festival was curated by Simona Lodi, Chiara Garibaldi, Manuela De Caro, Luca Barbeni, at the Accademia Albertina di Belli Arti in Torino. Human Browser was performed in Italian by Alessandra Lappano assisted by Simone Sandretti. With the support of the Centre Culturel Français de Turin.

In case you wonder, the background sound in the video comes from a great installation by Gregory Shakar: The Analog Color Field Computer that was also nominated for the prize. Amazon-noir by Ubermorgen, Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico got the Honorary Mention. The other nominees were: Sensity - The Emergent City (Stanza), Shockbot Corejulio (5voltcore) and the Mikro Orchestra Project.

Session 7 - Human Browser at the FutureFilmFestival, Bologna - Jan 19, 2007

Performance of Human Browser, interpreted in Italian by Simona Sagone, at the Future Web Festival 2007, curated by Luca Vaglio, FutureFilmFestival at Palazzo ReEnzo, Bologna.

You can watch the videos in this article by Luca Vaglio, "Google va all'Actor's Studio", Affari Italiani.

Session 6 - Human Browser at the Abbaye de Noirlac - Sept 23, 2006
The futurs of writing

Sept. 23, 2006: performance of Human Browser, aka Jérôme Piques, at the festival "Les futurs de l'écrit" ("The Futurs of Writing"), Abbaye de Noirlac. Ecriture et lecture : nouvelles formes, curated by Emmanual Cyriaque, David-Olivier Lartigaud et al., Editions Hyx.

Extract 1 - Extract 2 (in French)

Exhibited artists: Dan Graham, Pierre Bismuth, Yves Duranthon, Mongrel, ASCII Art Ensemble, Christophe Bruno, Martin Le Chevallier, Mark Napier, Peter Cho, Ben Fry, Young Hae Chang, Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau, Hansol Huh, Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern, Quantic Dream, Margarete Jahrmann and Max Moswitzer, Machinima selection.

Session 5 - Sydney Esquisse Festival, Sydney - Aug 5-20, 2006
Human Browser in Sydney, remote controlled from Paris

From August 5 to August 20, 2006, Human Browser is performing at the Sydney Esquisse Art and Design Festival, curated by Simon Horauf & al. The idea was to direct the performance from Paris with a remote live video link and I had to rework the code a little bit to have the whole installation set up. On the picture you can see the actress, Beccy Iland, with a webcam on her shoulder and Wi-Fi laptop in her backpack (a nice idea by Simon which allowed to simplify everything). Thanks to the live video link between Sydney and Paris, I can see and hear what Beccy sees and hears in Sydney. I input keywords on my computer in Paris and the text-to-speech audio flow hijacked from Google arrives in Beccy's headset.

Extract (in English)

Session 4 - Festival Transmediale, Berlin - Feb 2-5, 2006
Human Browser in Berlin

Feb. 2, 2006: Manon Kahle has become the first Female Browser. During four days, the visitors of the Transmediale festival in Berlin have fallen beneath her spell.

Extract 1 - Extract 2 - Extract 3 - Extract 4 - Extract 5 - Extract 6 (in English and German)

You can also watch here the "guided tour" of the exhibition by Human Browser.

Videocamera: Valérie Pavia / Florence Pélissier

The video was broadcast on the website of the french newspaper Libération.

Session 3 - Opening at galerie Sollertis, Toulouse - Jan 10, 2006
Human Browser in Toulouse

Jan. 10, 2006, Human Browser, aka Jérôme Piques, tried to start up a conversation with the visitors of galerie Sollertis in Toulouse, during the opening of my solo exhibition.

Here are a few extracts: Extrait 1 - Extrait 2 - Extrait 3 - Extrait 4 - Extrait 5 (in French)

Session 2 - IVème Nuit Blanche de Paris, Mairie du IVème - Oct 1st, 2005
La nouvelle Pythie

La Pythie de Delphes : son nom vient du Python monstrueux qui habitait un trou, la béance de Gaïa, la mère Terre, sur les lieux de la future Delphes. C'est là que la Pythie proférait ses oracles, en des termes incompréhensibles que seuls les prêtres du sanctuaire pouvaient interpréter. Au moment de parler, la Pythie tombait en transes et entrait en contact avec Apollon, le Dieu vainqueur du serpent. Les grecs disaient qu'elle était en état d'enthousiasme : habitée par le dieu.

" Jadis des chèvres, dit-on, découvrirent l'oracle ... Il y avait un trou dans le sol ... et les chèvres paissaient à l'entour ... Chaque fois qu'une bête s'approchait du trou et se penchait vers l'intérieur, elle se mettait à bondir de façon bizarre et faisait entendre des bêlements anormaux. Un berger, surpris de ce phénomène, s'approcha du trou et ressentit les mêmes symptômes que les chèvres : celles-ci se comportaient comme des possédés ; l'homme, lui, prédisait l'avenir. Quiconque approchait du trou entrait en état de transes. Ce fut la raison pour laquelle l'oracle fut considéré comme le sanctuaire prophétique de la Terre ... Comme nombre de gens sautaient dans le trou et, en raison de leur état de possession y disparaissaient, les habitants ... nommèrent une femme, seule prophétesse pour tous. Ils lui fabriquèrent un appareil du haut duquel elle pût en toute sécurité entrer en transes ... L'appareil avait trois points d'appui et c'est pourquoi on l'appela trépied ...

A l'époque ancienne les oracles étaient rendus par des vierges parce qu'elles étaient physiquement intactes et de la même nature qu'Artémis : c'était une disposition favorable pour garder le secret. "

Diodore de Sicile, XVI,26, Ier siècle av. J.-C.

Video bientôt disponible

Session 1 - Paris - May 29, 2005
EU constitution vote : Human Browser offers to help France
The video was broadcast on the website of the French newspaper Le Monde, the day after the elections.

Session 0 - IIIème Nuit Blanche de Paris, Mairie du IVème - Oct 2, 2004
Some time of available human brain

An Internet installation for television channel and computer assisted actor.

The premiere of the performance "Some time of available human brain" took place on Oct 2, 2004, at the third "Nuit Blanche de Paris" at the Mairie du IVème arrondissement (curated by Metazone) which welcomed more than 11 000 people. Ten representations were given this night, each one lasting between ten and fifteen minutes. ... more Info