animal.pl
alex

please note: animal.pl died tragically during an operating system upgrade. please send flowers to port 25 of slab.org. more information can be found at vivaria.net.


animal.pl is at times a confusing software artwork. On viewing its
source, you may realise that
animal.pl has served you its own sourcecode; it is the webserver at
http://lurk.org .

Further, animal.pl is an artwork that carries another, simpler artwork.
You see the 'sub-artwork' when you visit http://lurk.org; a set of
instructions that the participant follows in return for access to the
results of the other participants. This is interesting in its own
right. But this should not distract the jury from its guardian, the
artwork that is submitted here - animal.pl . The sub-artwork is an
interaction that merely brings interesting nuances to the artwork that
it is contained within.

And so, animal.pl has acted as the agent of this sub-artwork, in the
commercial sense of the word 'agent'. Depending on various events, it
has contacted mailing lists and websites inviting people to visit
http://lurk.org and follow the instructions there. It did a good job -
there have been 1239 participations and rising.

Note that it only sent messages to places that solicit such
information. animal.pl is not a spammer.

Most of animal.pl's tasks were related to these promotional activities.
But there was one other task, which was completed on the 29th day.

For the first 28 days, animal.pl was a secretive, proprietry,
closed-source piece of software. Visitors to http://lurk.org had little
clues about the process behind the scenes. But on the special 29th day,
animal.pl applied the GNU public license to its sourcecode, making
itself free software. It contacted those it had invited earlier, this
time exposing and explaining itself, and inviting people to download and
change its source and related files. It added links to this exposition
to its webpages, too.

And so, this work could be viewed as an exploration of the life of a
piece of code. From conception to realisation as software, to a running
process interacting with the world, to open source software. That is,
the creative process of a single programmer (me, creating animal.pl), to
the creative processes of the users (those creatively interpreting
instructions on a webpage), to the creative processes of anyone in the
world who may wish to change the process and/or run it for themselves.

There are no more tasks for animal.pl to carry out, but still it lives
on.

animal.pl has not crashed in 33 days of execution; it is a single, 33
day old process running on a desktop machine in my studio. A powercut
would finish it, as would an operating system fault or some clumsy
footwork around the computer it runs upon. So many things could go
wrong - it's surprising that it has survived this far...

I'm not sure what I will do if it does die.


Please read this disclaimer before downloading

download here   | report broken link
project homepage: http://lurk.org
keywords: unix-perl-live-hackerly-automation software for the Internet and linux
category: bots and agents
uploaded by alex, 28 Dec 2002




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