Darknet, 2016

Inkjet print on black paper, folded and sewn

The darknet is a restricted part of the internet used primarily for illegal file sharing, computer crime and the sale of black market items.

This work is a series of completely black books printed with the Google search results for ‘what is the darknet?’ Each book has been printed (black ink on black paper), sewn into traditional book form and, finally, folded in such a way that they now bear very little resemblance to books.

The resulting objects are designed to allure – their matte surfaces catch the light in such a way as to impart an almost velvet quality. In an exhibition of books, were-books and almost-books, the apparent tactility of these objects is enticing.

Looking around the gallery, viewers are reminded of their own encounters with books, may even be able to smell the old books used in other works. The desire to become involved may be increasing – to touch, to hold.

Yet as soon as the viewer is drawn in to Darknet, they are rejected, as the text is almost illegible and becomes practically invisible through the tight folding of the pages. They may still recognise the folded forms as books but feel spurned, unsure about how to interact, just as the average person may not know how to enter the darknet and find what is within.

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