Started in 1994 as Beverly Hills Internet by David Bohnett and John Rezner, GeoCities grew into the biggest online community of its era. Long before MySpace and Facebook, its tens of millions of “homesteaders” created personal pages in theme-based neighborhoods of their choice. Those neighborhoods started out as webcams in real places in Los Angeles. But when GeoCities invited users to add their own pages on those themes, a virtual land rush began. After a spectacular IPO, GeoCities was bought by Yahoo! in 1999 for over $3 billion.
Yahoo! eventually decided GeoCities was obsolete. All 38 million pages of the main English-language site were to be erased in October 2009. Several groups of hacker preservationists stepped in. The Internet Archive, Archive Team, and other volunteers preserved tens of millions of pages. Artist Richard Vijgen created an interactive visualization of the 650-gigabyte backup of GeoCities, now on exhibit at CHM. It is an artistic answer to a question set to grow in importance, as more and more of daily life goes online: How do you present a digital ruin?
Deleted City is an interactive visualization created by Richard Vijgen, of the 650-gigabyte backup of the early web hosting service GeoCities.
Danish artist Richard Vijgen discusses his approach to converting a 2-terabyte disk of GeoCities data into a work of art.
This cheerful welcome page greeted visitors to GeoCities in its 1990s heyday.
Long before MySpace and Facebook, GeoCities tens of millions of “homesteaders” created personal pages in theme-based neighborhoods of their choice. But when GeoCities invited users to add their own pages on those themes, a virtual land rush began.