Digitizing Megan's Law

Sandbox Roughhouse

What if you took apart a computer and found Jell-O?" muses Amy Shapiro, the organizer of last Monday night's "Cyber Recycling" show at The Piano Store on the Lower East Side. Gutting and destroying outdated and broken equipment live on stage, Shapiro and 14 other performance artists hoped to reintroduce a sense of Dadaist sabotage into our relationship with machines. Faced with the entrails of motherboards and circuitry spilling out of the machines, Jell-O wouldn't be the hard part to understand. It's the computer itself that's the real mystery.

The event was the kickoff party for the new issue of Sandbox, a print and online zine (echonyc.com/ ~sandbox/) and nonprofit collective explicitly dedicated to artistic tinkering. "We're trying to inject an idea of freedom" into society, says Sandbox editor Sylvie Myerson. "The culture today lacks a sense of play." The zine, created four years ago, features interviews with high-profile figures like Larry Harvey, the founder of the Burning Man Festival, and cyberpunk author William Gibson. For all the bent plastic Monday night, "Cyber Recycling" was more focused on creativity than destruction, says Shapiro. In the show, she transformed the green circuit boards of the computer into landscapes for exhibition. "We glued little plastic animals on them, with a woodsy theme on the motherboard," says Shapiro. "I also turned the CD-ROM drive into a Buddhist temple." After inviting audience members to help whack or unscrew some machinery, the event's organizers hoped to corral them into contributing to the zine.

Signal and Noise

UnZipped: For the May launch of its local guide nytoday.com, The New York Times has made much of its unique street-mapping and listing technology, provided by California company Zip2. But last week, Zip2 entered into a merger with local guide company Citysearch, which already runs a New York site (newyork.citysearch.com) through a partnership with Time Out NY. Suddenly nytoday.com seems a little like yesterday's news even before launch. CyberTimes didn't touch the subject, but Pathfinder's Netly News (cgi.pathfinder.com/netly/) provided a great piece on the trump... Why? rd: After confessing that the "marvels of cyberspace remain something of a mystery" to him, Times theater critic Wilborn Hampton went on to prove himself entirely inadequate to the task of reviewing Blithedale: Virtual Utopia. Hampton deems the play, which evidently uses conceits from MOOs and chat environments, "a sort of virtual reality Web surf." Come again?

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