Ars Electronica

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Prix 1987 - 2007

Ars Electronica Linz & ORF Oberösterreich

Wayne Clements

un_wiki is a Perl program. It finds the most recent entries in a Log of deleted pages kept by Wikipedia The Free Encylopedia. Alternatively, un_wiki will, if asked, select a page at random from the 780 or so past pages preserved in the Log. These are all entries that have offended against Wikipedia’s democratic remit. The program finds the preserved fragments of the deleted texts, removing extraneous formatting, and prints these texts to screen.

All around the world forces of reason confront a rebellious furore, the circle of enlightenment versus the legion of chaos.

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This Wikipedia SysOps template expands to deletion because and (in the majority of cases) usually nonsense. Divided by the pipe, these two confront each other, a binary opposition. (Even nonsense itself is internally divided: “gdhgfdhgdhgdhgfd” is patent nonsense, whilst there is no limit to nonsense plain and simple, whether it is the claim “I am the world’s greatest guitarist,” or that “I am the most popular girl in my class”).

Day and night hordes of the soon to be deleted hurl themselves at the citadel of the Wikipedians. And following the latter’s rules, hundreds are deleted everyday. And still the deleted are forever renewed, perpetually replaced by the scheduledfor-speedy-deletion.

un_wiki memorialises this history: it refuses to take sides. un_wiki looks for this in the record of their conflict: “Content was”. Content was and is no more. Content was not content… “Content was” precedes the text fragments that are the deposits in the sediments that are the Delete Logs of Wikipedia’s SysOps. Here is their only witness, a monument, the imbecilic, fatuous, illiterate, racist, sexist, homophobic and just plain loopy editors who once tried out their editing skills on a page; but, perhaps also the unduly persecuted?

un_wiki presents this material. It is for the user to decide allegiance between the wisdom of the SysOps and the devastation of the insurgency. Point a browser at un_wiki and allow the outpourings of the populace to scroll down the screen: the artist disclaims all responsibility for its content.