Terrence Handscomb

Terrence Handscomb

Space Invaders: Black Satire and the BBS

16 May - 3 June 2000


Mimicking a website, Terrence Handscomb's computer interactive contains documentation of physiological anomalies, autopsies, serial murderers, coprophagists, fatal accidents, penile surgery, and fisting. Much of the imagery in Space Invaders was downloaded from bizarre and hardcore websites, discussion groups, and bulletin-board services (BBSs). Dedicated netsurfers will recognise many of the images, as they are repeatedly published on the web.


Space Invaders' navigation system draws on the idea of the logical frame—abstract functions that relate possible worlds—a staple of computing technology. In Space Invaders, logical frames are associated with various bodily organs that link the external world with the inner workings of the body: the Oral Frame, the Optic Frame, the Penile Frame, etc. We navigate through the site as if penetrating a body. For Handscomb, the body is an abstract moral and political surface which ritualistically separates the socialised outer world from our inner workings, complex social space from complex biological space.


Bypassing the editorial structures which have traditionally regulated the distribution of information, the internet provokes new darker issues of access, power, and control. Space Invaders does not seek to glamorise pornography or to support marginal sectors of the internet, but rather to indict and interrupt the utopian rhetoric that inadvertently supports them by embracing new technology as necessarily liberating, and somehow exempt from historical, cultural, and philosophical determinations.