“Crystal Protocol” by Matt Sandler (2014)

3_Embedded and Wearable,Assignment,Hardware,Sensors — MattSandler Sandler @ 3:37 pm



This piece is mainly a response to The Artificial Kingdom by Celeste Olalquiaga.

In it the author discusses the invention of industry, mass production, and essentially modernity.

She relates it to Walter Benjamin’s writings on

the death of the aura for a piece of art,

the disintegration of its aura creating a debris which covers the object in a thin film like the dust which ignited makes the tail of a comet (birth of kitsch)

the historical and social psychological narratives of the mid-1800’s as a response to the above and coinciding with glass technology improvements, in the rise of popularity of, the “Arcade”(a mall-precursor), an attempt to reproduce the natural, fern-o-mania (collecting ferns), aquariums, souvenirs, snowglobes, and the building of an enormous glass building which to the likes has not been outdone to this date.

one particular passage struck me.

        we suppose that in a few months
the glittering palace of iron and glass, the most
       unique and remarkable building in
the world, will be as entirely a thing of the past
      as the ice-palace of the Empress of
     Russia that thawed in the summer sun.
Illustrated London News On the
Crystal Palace, Saturday October 11, 1851

This was written so shortly after The Crystal Palace and was oddly foreboding in the prediction of its novelty but also its imminent death (burnt down) 80 years later.  The Ice-Palace of Anna Inanovna was built a mere 100 years prior and its ephemeral beauty melted, like all things must.

Less than 100 years after the melting of The Crystal Palace, and we have a new Crystal Palace.

A construction of transparency that we delude ourselves into believing will last forever.



The Crystal Protocol pings Google and traces the route the packets of information takes to be received.

The more “hops” from server to server, the more obfuscated and less direct our connection to that data.

Each hop is turned into an ASCII  snowflake/debris floating the digital screen. By moving around the globe you can watch the snowflakes drift around and by shaking you can queue the quote above from the Illustrated London News.

The snowflakes are likely to increase with time.  Eventually this snowglobe will not work at all.

The screen will power-on but wi-fi will be a thing of the past.

Following that, this snowglobe will be an antique, an artifact.

Following that it will be dust.




Folder for install and de-install Instructions





I apologize for the incorrect orientation and overall quality of the video. This is a temporary placeholder until 9/29/2014.

(I also plan to post a breakdown of methods/code/problems that were  used/employed/encountered in this project along with lots of pictures of failure.)


Photo2 Photo1




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