Recovered File: 577x384_000023 from Bootable drive 1 TB by Niels Bonde 1993/2022
Recovered Files (1993) was unlike any other projects at Städelschules Institut fur Neue Medien, where Niels Bonde was studying at the time. As the first and only artist using the internet connection and the computer itself as the subject matter, Bonde hacked into computers, recovered deleted text and image files, and downloaded the ones with the most compelling names. This was a time, where the term "Internet" wasn't even coined yet. It was called the ISDN-net or World Wide Web. The worlds first website went live august 1991, so the project was seen as science fiction, at best a novel technology that soon would go out of fashion.
The deleted files were found on the computers of five art schools around the world (Helsinki, Groningen, Paris, Cologne and Tokyo). Niels Bonde accessed these computers through the internet and retrieved the images that the students had deleted. The computers, unprotected by passwords, were accessed with through a program called Timbuktu. Via Timbuktu, Bonde planted a recovering program to reconstruct deleted files and send them back to his own computer in Denmark. In the project, he focused on destroyed pictures in particular, that is, pictures that the computer had difficulties with finding an order in - thus giving them a “digital look". In the selection of images, Bonde gave the original filename and its relation to the concept first priority. The name of the file and the place from where they originate was written on the image to further explain the process.