The Pervasive Rhizome

To Be Showcased at Radical/Networks on October 24-25th

Philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari envisioned the “rhizome” as an ideological and semiotic structure which ended up serving in many ways as an underlying inspiration for the Internet.

“The Pervasive Rhizome: Data Tracking Edition” is an interactive application which visualizes the complex interconnectivity of the Internet as well as the myriad ways data gets requested, tracked and siphoned while navigating it. Beginning with a participant choosing a URL as a “starting node”, the application automates through different pages recursively scraping links and moving to the first, unique link briefly displaying the page before moving onto the next.

In parallel, on a separate screen, all of these links are being visualized in a large connected network building the wide, interconnected mesh of nodes and links. Each node/web page will have a small visualized graph on its side, showing the number of content requests on it. Over time and through multiple “instantiations” by new participants, this visualized mesh will start building the rhizome of the Internet but also a dense display of how underlying mechanisms of data tracking are pervasive and enormous beneath the innocuous veil of the browser.