works of group 404

first period (sept. 1994-feb. 1995)

During this period of time, the work of the group is still rather conceptual. The artists pay more attention to The Idea than to the actual way it should be worked out. The first page is opened with the commercial firm Netscape. This stirs the Internet community which is rather sleepy at the time. Quickly after this some other important organisations get trapped. Among them the scientific bureau CERN in Switzerland, home base of group member Kuenzli.

It is a characteristic of this period that the members go about their work without caring for details: although the pages for Netscape en CERN differ only minimally, these differences are nevertheless completely senseless and do not teach us as human beings (regardless of whether we think as postmodernists or not) anything about the differences between entrepreneurs and scientists.

second period (march 1995-june 1996)

This is by far the most creative period of the group. Their pages show a wide diversity in forms and substance and colors and shapes. The work can be found in many places on the Internet. Some webmasters even offer free space to the group, but this is always declined politely ('if we don't have trouble, we don't have fun,' says group member John Winterman).

Some interesting examples are: the pages for educational institution MIT (with a very sarcastic poem), for Yahoo! France (with the mysterious message that the requested page would be 'ne plus disponible'), the WWW Consortium (with a text which is almost as mysterious) and Microsoft (with a parody of the corporate culture in this software company). But the group's creativity doesn't stop here: very important are also the sites of the White House, Bob Dole and Internet columnist Justin. The form of the page seems to be adapted to the owner of the site in every single case.

third period (july 1996- today)

Unfortunately the group seems to have fallen asleep from an artistic point of view. Apart from some special accomplishments (such as the pages for C|Net and the Icelandic concern This Is) the constant production of beatiful pages can no longer be upheld. It is very difficult to be creative. The group seems to be frustrated by the large number of imitations that pop up on the Web everywhere (represented here by the pages of HotBot and Disney). These are all very commercial and of inferior quality.

A very recent development however, is that the group invents 'funny' reactions of servers that get presented whenever somebody tries to get to their part of a server. Examples here are the American version of Yahoo! and the Dutch site of newspaper De Volkskrant. Let's hope that this is a sign that the group is working on a come-back.

[Addition: a fairly complete overview of the works of the group can be found at AltaVista]