If a Full Inbox Stresses You Out, Turn It into Art

When you remove the content, all that's left are soothing, colorful boxes.

Artist Rafaël Rozendaal wants users to experience the web in a new way: as an abstract art exhibit. Through a Chrome extension, called Abstract Browsing, which anyone can download for free, users can turn a busy email inbox into an abstract canvas of colors and shapes. A webpage filled with text, ads, and links is transformed into a soothing composition of blocks and colors, unified within a browser window.

The extension can be turned off at any time to resume normal operations once you've had your fill. The program maintains the basic structure of the website, erasing text and images — replacing these blocks of content with 10 colors pulled by a preset palette.

Since Rozendaal released the extension back in 2014, he's been taking screenshots of his favorite websites. Recently, he's made this archive of abstract pages into a series of physically woven tapestries, on show at the Steve Turner gallery in LA.

He chose to weave the tapestries in a special way, using a Jacquard loom. 

“Jacquard weaving is considered an important step in the history of computing,” Rozendaal explained in an interview with The Creators Project. “The punch cards used for the fabric patterns in the weaving were invented in 1801. This is, to my knowledge, the first digital image format. It is binary information that is mechanically rendered.”

Abstract Browsing (Pinterest) opens this Saturday @steveturnerla pic.twitter.com/KJeNTy565V

— Rafaël Rozendaal (@newrafael) January 7, 2016

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