Design should be a great, unexpected and considered expereince.
A Bit in the Abyss at Illuminus Boston

Matthew Battles
Krystelle Denis
Sarah Newman
Melissa Marshall
Jessica Yurkofsky

October 2015

Fenway Park

Illuminus Boston

For Illuminus Boston, A Bit in the Abyss consists of a digital storage server in a small shipping container, similar to those used by the Internet Archive for storing the scanned, hard-copy source media they acquire.

As data are accessed, their processing is sonified to represent the growth of server hosts spanning from the origins of the internet to the present. Within the container, mirrors reflect the server’s blinking indicator lights in all directions.

Audience members enter the container in small groups to experience the prismatic effects of light and sound produced therein. The design of the project makes use of the “Droste Effect,” which occurs when images are reflected among multiple mirrors to create the impression of an infinite series.

The effect is also called mise-en-abyme, a French phrase, which translates as “to place in the abyss.” The phrase evokes the existential condition of information storage: as we digitize recorded knowledge, it falls into a virtual abyss of abstraction. - Excerpt from metaLAB


Studio Skiffle, shorthandedly referenced here as §, is the playful and improvisational award-winning design and art practice of M. Marshall. Marshall has passion for color, smells, culture, the real, the surreal, the known and the unknown. The work of § reflects the curious and processual methods embraced while exploring and improvising with both digital and analogue technologies.   
What’s a Skiffle?

The name of § was influenced by the music genre, Skiffle. Familiar to few, Skiffle music is often played using improvised spirit and music instruments alike. When happening upon the word and musical world of Skiffle, Marshall felt a great kinship between the essence of Skiffle and her own design processes which often involve improvising, playing and exploring different mediums and techniques.