In its early days, the Web functioned in many ways like any other avenue for publishing. You put information out there to be consumed, or you went looking for information as a consumer. Over time, however, it became something else… with the advent in turn of web counters, rapidly updated search engines, indexed blog postings, and more recently social networking sites, the Web has become the ultimate popularity contest. How much is out there solely to provoke a reaction rather than inform? How many people regularly search for themselves on Google to see how many hits are returned? Do you care if everyone you know has more friends on Facebook than you do?
This use of the Web as the perfect “mirror on the wall” for the image-conscious generation saw its ultimate expression with the Myth of the Band That Was Signed Through Myspace. An inevitable obsessive monitoring of myspace friends and play numbers for all struggling bands followed. Would they reach the magic number that would lead the major labels to their doors they wondered? Getting their URL seen in the right places became a necessity for those desperate for that oxygen of popularity: the web statistic.
Cybraphon automates the now-familiar process of musical performance, followed by obsessive tracking of online opinion, and subsequent mood swings. It is the 21st century equivalent of the player piano, but instead of your coins, it begs for your attention in the online world. Its music is purely acoustic, played robotically on antique and junk-shop instruments in a gallery in Edinburgh; but what it plays is driven by its mood, and this is shaped by its 24-hour monitoring of the whole of the web for comments, reviews, or simply traffic to this web page.