QR-Comms by Giselle Beiguelman

Giselle Beiguelman’s QR-Comms remixes the Ten Commandments and ‘investigates the fluidity of network identity and its artificial presence in our contemporary authorial (or post-authorial) condition’. Beiguelman explores the visual imagery and creative potential of QR code: QR is short for ‘quick response’, and QR codes are two-dimensional matrix barcodes, which are readable by QR barcode readers, built for example into certain camera phones. QR code is visual: it is assembled out of black modules arranged in square patterns on a white background, and gets used ever more frequently for commercial marketing purposes, for example on billboards, in magazines, on buses or business cards. Users with QR-code equipped camera phones can scan the images of QR codes and thus obtain the encoded textual information.

Beiguelman lists the following statements as points of departure for QR-Comms:
a) Aura is interface.
b) One cannot own a thought any more than they can patent a particular walk through the desert
c) The desert, like the mind it operates in, is the landscape where open source is visited and revisited.
d) The Digital Aleph (re)discovers the narrative potential of open source code, of social software, in the solitude of the desert – the desert of the real where radical intersubjectivity blooms.
e) Code is code. Decode it.

Beiguelman’s remix of the Ten Commandments amounts both to a plea for a changed, open source media environment and a tongue-in-cheek rewriting of religious dogma so as to adapt it to the demands of the age of ‘quick response’. The users are instructed to ‘take every name in vain’, to ‘adulterate everything’, and to covet their neighbour’s source code. ‘Comms’ in the title could equally be understood in short-hand code (code again!) for either communication or, in this case, an offhand term for commandments. Finally, QR-Comms addresses the Poetry Beyond Text research questions by staging a tension between the visual (the QR code image) and the textual information.

Giselle Beiguelman is a new media artist and multimedia essayist who teaches Digital Culture at the Graduation Program in Communication and Semiotics of PUC-SP (São Paulo, Brazil). Her work includes: the award-winning The Book after the Book, egoscópio, and Landscape0 (with Marcus Bastos and Rafael Marchetti). Her work appears in important anthologies and guides devoted to digital arts, including Yale University Library Research Guide for Mass Media.