Finger Plays // Log

This site is a living remenant of an ongoing process.

This is where you begin each day, a simple request.
Repeated but never the same.
Habits long forgotten but never ceased.

Please browse the log file: a constantly growing chronological archive of the life of this server, of parts tied together through your Fingers.

Browse the Log ›

You can add to this log, check on network status, and see what other users are doing:

  1. Open a command line using one of these built-in options, or your favourite terminal shell:
    MacOS: Terminal app; Windows: Powershell; or linux terminal
  2. At the command prompt type (or paste):
    finger ""
  3. This will show you the index and further instructions.
If you are new to command line interfaces please note that you can scroll up and down in the window with your mouse, but cannot use your mouse edit the command line text or move the cursor. All commands are keyboard only. Feel free to resize the terminal window to see more text at once. For more about command lines see Mozilla's "Command line crash course".
This site is designed for full size screens. It will work on mid-size tablets or larger, but is not optimized for smaller mobile devices.
Javascript and a modern browser are required.

About Finger Plays

Finger Plays began as an exploration of finger, a vestigial protocol that isn't used much today but still lingers on all major operating systems (more history directly from Les Earnest, the protocol's creator). Finger is generally known as the first social network protocol. It was designed to "point" at another user on the local network in order to see some basic information about their availability, status, projects, etc.

Over time, this basic utility was supplanted by other means of communication—everything from email to instant messaging to personal websites, and eventually out contemporary web-based social networks.

This project reimagines a type of poetic embodied network presence, below the surface of the graphical interfaces and corporate web platforms where we spend most of our computer time. It asks viewers to engage with the command line finger protocol, and turns the log of requests into the audio-visual poem you see on this website.

Pulling from protocol specification documents, poetry, Silicon Valley launch events, science fiction, and more, this custom finger server creates and logs generative poems linked together through our collective pointing. Riffing on the idea of a "knee play", these short generated poems and audio pieces connect to each other while obscuring their source material and context.

Fingers touch our keyboards, screens, and bodies. They are an integral interface for connecting people together, for mediating our relationships to, and through, networked technology—relationships that are always being negotiated and redefined.