Tag Archives: Quantopia


We live in a world that is full of algorithms. We have an unconscious relationship to code and numbers. Even creativity is now quantified by data. — DJ Spooky

The Internet Archive is pleased to announce that tickets are now on sale for the World Premiere of DJ Spooky’s QUANTOPIA: THE EVOLUTION OF THE INTERNET—a multimedia hip hop concert experience about the history and exponential growth of the Internet. This new work commissioned by the Internet Archive, created with funding from a Hewlett 50 Arts Commission from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is set to premiere at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater on Friday, January 25, 2019 at 7:30pm.

Get your World Premiere Tickets here

What might the Internet sound like?  How can we visualize the Internet?  Is an algorithm merely an opinion clothed in mathematics?

According to DJ Spooky and his collaborator and data artist Greg Niemeyer, QUANTOPIA is “The utopia of quantification —the dream that we can count, measure, and weigh everything and reach a perfect understanding of the world despite its paradoxes.”

DJ Spooky’s QUANTOPIA: THE EVOLUTION OF THE INTERNET weaves together new compositions, chorus, a string quartet and algorithmically generated images in an immersive aural and visual experience. Described by the composer as an “acoustic portrait of the Internet,” DJ Spooky will perform live loops and layers of sound, alongside musicians from Classical Revolution and San Francisco Girls Chorus, enveloped by data visualization and interactive video design by Greg Niemeyer, with additional visual design created by MEDIUMLABS, and Roger Antonsen.

“Quantopia” Network Visualization by Roger Antonsen

QUANTOPIA commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first sound transmission on the Internet. On October 29, 1969, two young programmers working together by phone attempted to “LOGIN” from the UCLA computer lab to a Stanford Research Institute computer. The system crashed, but with those two momentous keystrokes, “L-O,” the world would never be the same. The ARPANET, precursor to the Internet, was born. Fifty years later, with the Internet’s complete transformation of society, there is a growing sense that technology and humanity are at a crossroad. Traveling through a barcode forest, the audience will witness fifty years, from 1969 to 2019, to consider the social and technical co-construction of the Internet, from the world of big data to information theory.

QUANTOPIA will be presented in three movements and features text from the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and progresses through the creation and expansion of the World Wide Web. The hour-long experience is a multi-sensory journey illuminating ever-present issues of inclusion and exclusion, echo chambers and small-world phenomena. A celebration of the history of the Internet, QUANTOPIA is a tribute to the depth and high stakes of free speech and creative expression involved in our daily use of media.

QUANTOPIA is the first public performance of the Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. This project also represents an artistic extension of the Internet Archive’s work in preservation, open technology, and open access to knowledge. “The idea is having a symphony about the web,” reflects Brewster Kahle, Founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. “Can we go and learn from that in new and different ways what this Internet thing is?” By leveraging the power of music, the Internet Archive seeks to engage new and younger audiences to think about how they engage with the internet. On the day of the premiere, students from selected programs in the San Francisco Unified School District and the wider Bay Area will attend a special educational presentation at YBCA.

We look forward to seeing our Internet Archive community at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on January 25th at 7.30pm.

Get your tickets today.

QUANTOPIA is commissioned by the Internet Archive, created with funding from a Hewlett 50 Arts Commission from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and presented in association with YBCA. Produced by Sozo Artists, Inc. with additional support from Sozo Impact, Inc.