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Ethnic Software by Yevgeniy Fiks
about the artist

The Ethnic Software project is a critical interpretation of Di Yidishe Shribmashinke / The Yiddish Typewriter / a piece of software written by the programmer Raphael Finkel / designed to interconvert various Yiddish representations. Di Yidishe Shribmashinke reinvents transliteration by allowing anyone - transliteration does not assume knowledge of the Yiddish language - for only the graphical representation of sounds is taken into consideration - to form a line of Yiddish text ­ at least visually. The program tests the ethnic and personal identity of a person that forms these lines. Being one of the examples of truly ethnic software, this program is inevitably marginal in the context of the mainstream new media.

The Ethnic Software project draws on the methodology of the found objects movement and is mainly about interpretation of a new media artifact. Di Yidishe Shribmashinke is 'framed' and presented as the ultimate ethnic software. Ethnic new media requires ethnic tools. Yiddish new media requires Di Yiddishe Shribmashinke.

Forming an ethnic new media line is a point of departure. While common wisdom temps Yevgeniy Fiks to acknowledge that digital media is indeed an international phenomenon and possibly the very essence of globalization, the artist is still more interested in those obscure artifacts of digital culture that suggest ethnicity.

Any piece of ethnic new media undoubtedly manifests its creatorıs struggle to maintain ethnic and personal identity in the face of advancing global technology.

y.o.p. 2001
text by the artist

technical requirements:
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