The history of the WWW is not a singular history, but a dispersed collection of eclectic histories and stories – many that have nothing to do with anybody else’s.

There are graphics, sounds, elements, names, tools, and events that had influence on almost everything, and there are very personal heroes that never crossed a border of a particular community or server. For many, the starry night background is the symbol of the WWW, for some it would be a Mulder and Scully portrait, for a few — a SETI button.

It is difficult to find something what would not mean anything to anybody. But I think I recently managed.


It is a collection of 10 images in TIFF (!) format that came on a CD attached to the manual “Microsoft Frontpage 97: HTML and Beyond” written by Gus Venditto in 1997.

Frontpage was a widespread WYSIWYG HTML editor. Half of the web was built with it. The manual itself was also no rarity. But have you ever seen these graphics on the web? Did you ever copy them from the CD, convert them to GIF or a JPG and put them on your page? Do you know anybody who did?

Since one year Cory Arcangel and myself are flipping through the files, asking ourselves: why TIFs? Why firemen? Who has bitten off the donut? WHAT ARE THESE SHOES? How this collection came together at all?

On the eve of the opening of our show Asymmetrical Response at Western Front in Vancouver, we decided to give these graphics a second chance. With the generous permission given to us by the webmasters of Western Front’s website, we replaced featured images on their blog with two firemen, an iguana, a flying twenty dollar bill and wide-angle view of a donut among others. Enjoy!

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