An online error is usually an accident. Conversely, in China, error is often intentional. Censors decide what information will be displayed or not. In the latter case, a message would alert the netizen: “Page not found.” This error message is an intentional anomaly that appears by the design of The Great Firewall of China. IPv4 Cube: Anomalies visualizes and sonifies the entire IPv4 address space (Internet) and indicates the Chinese cyberspace within – shielded by the Firewall. Often described as a “giant cage,” the Firewall here is neither fixed nor stable, but fluid and dynamic. The IPv4 address space is traced and visualized as a cube. Each cube situated inside the larger IPv4 Cube represents 256 individual IP numbers. A total of 4.3 billion addresses are visualized. The addresses pertaining to Chinese cyberspace are rendered in red.
IPv4 Cube: Anomalies is based on Benjamin Weber’s IPv4 Cube (2012), which was remastered and extended for this year’s festival.
A special thanks to cyber security researcher Valentin Weber (University of Oxford), for his insightful advice and research during this project. I am also very grateful to the Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis (University of California, San Diego) for providing the data that made this artwork possible.
Benjamin Weber, digital artist and researcher living in Vienna, Austria
Valentin Weber, cyber security researcher at the University of Oxford
CAIDA UCSD Anonymized Internet Traces 2018