In 2000, an exhibition at the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Art Center at Stanford University presented a suite of moving-image works created in a form not often seen in the context of the art gallery: the animated screensaver. The works in the show, by a group of artists with varied practices including Jenny Holzer, Glenn Ligon, and Paul Pfeiffer, explored the potential of what was at the time a new media form.1 Originally designed to prevent damage to the screen when a computer was left on for too long, the animated screensaver became something of a pop-culture sensation, and was one of the most successful types of commercial software of the 1990s. The simple utility’s most novel characteristic is its boundless duration: a screensaver automatically displays randomized, continuously changing graphics. The screensaver is unique as a genre...

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