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Discover the stories behind today’s technology in this online game.

The internet started off as a calculating machine. Now it’s our entertainment system, our social space and our high street. 

Today’s digital world has been created by a long line of technologists and creatives. Some are idolised, but most are overlooked.

In 2014 Barbican and The Space commissioned /root to change that by tracing the history of digital creativity. From the first computers to the smartphone, this online game lets you investigate the people, projects and places that have shaped the technology we use today.

By following common features, /root identifies the connections between places, makers, and their projects, and shows how they influenced each other.

Choose a project to start from and /root will tell you about it, before showing the journey from that first idea to more recent technology - like a family tree. Then projects in the same ‘family’ will go head-to-head in a battle to show which has had the most influence.

Please note: This artwork is experimental and uses some of the latest available technology. It is best explored in the Google Chrome or Safari web browsers, and features may be limited on some devices.


About this Artist

/root was commissioned by Barbican and The Space in 2014. It was created by Jim Boulton and Craig Blagg.

Jim Boulton is a creative technologist and expert in digital culture. He is the curator of Error 404, an exhibition that explores the early years of the web, and author of 100 Ideas That Changed The Web. His Digital Archaeology exhibition featured in Digital Revolution, an exhibition of art, design, film, music and videogames held at The Barbican in 2014.

Craig Blagg is a creative technologist based in London. His award-winning work connects art and technology, and includes interactive video experiences, augmented reality and data manipulation projects. He won Cannes Lion advertising awards in 2011 and 2013.

Project Partners

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