minitel artwork (digital animated poem)
9.64h x 9.8w x 9.54d cm (24.5h x 25w x 24.5h in)
1 out of an edition of 3
The minitel network allowed users to log on with a remote terminal and access sequences of pages through regular phone lines. This minitel network was a precursor to today's Internet and functioned very much like it, with sites containing information about countless subjects. It also allowed users to send messages to one another (email). Different countries, such as UK, France, Japan, Canada, USA and Brazil, implemented different versions of the minitel concept under their own names. The UK called it Prestel. The Brazilian system, which was purchased from France, was dubbed videotexto. In Canada it was known as Telidon. In the USA, the network was named Videotex.
Under the name "minitel", France implemented a comprehensive network that was widely used throughout the 1980s. In 1984 minitel terminals were distributed to subscribers free of charge, which helped to further popularize the network. From 1983 to 1994 (the year of the Internet boom), use of the minitel grew continuously. In 1995 there were 7 million minitel terminals in France. It was also possible to access the minitel through the web. France discontinued the minitel service in 2012. D|EU|S was created in 1986 for the Brazilian network (which was the same system as the French "minitel").
D|EU|S is a minitel animated poem. Upon logging in, D|EU|S begins as a black screen. Then, a small white rectangle appears in the middle of the screen. Vertical bars slowly descend inside the rectangle and seemingly random letters and numbers appear under the bars. The poem takes on the appearance of a conventional bar code; however, upon close inspection, the viewer sees that the letters actually form the word "Deus" (God, in Portuguese) and the spacing of the letters reveals "eu" (I, in Portuguese) inside "Deus". The numbers are specific as well, indicating the date when D|EU|S was created and uploaded to the Brazilian network. Kac seeks to implode the religious reference (i.e. ubiquity) from within, propelling forward the emergance of the individual subject within the network.
D|EU|S was first shown in the group exhibition “Brazil High-Tech” (1986), organized by Eduardo Kac and Flavio Ferraz. The exhibition included a national online art gallery and was presented by Companhia Telefônica de São Paulo. Other exhibitions featuring D|EU|S include: “TypEmotion”, ZKM Center for Art and Media; Vilnius National Gallery of Art; FACT Liverpool; and National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts ( 2013 - 2016); “Eduardo Kac: Poesia Digital”, Oi Futuro Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro (2014); “Eduardo Kac: Early Media Works”, Jane England, London (2014); “Electronic Superhighway (2016-1996)”, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016).
In 2019, his Minitel artwork (digital animated poem), Reabracadabra, 1985, in the MoMA collection was listed in ARTnews by Alex Greenberger as one of the “15 Surprising Works at the new MoMA.”