Joe Gilmore | untitled folder
3.5" Disk | F.0011.0001 - .0002
First created by Joe Gilmore for Macintosh OS 9, 'untitled folder' was first released as a 3.5" Diskette in 2001 (now deleted). Fällt are pleased to release Version 2.0 as a free download updated for Macintosh OS X. A limited edition of 64 signed and numbered copies distributed on 3.5" Diskette with printed documentation is available to order now.
An operating system 'sculpture' utilising the Macintosh OS directory structure, 'untitled folder' is a minimalist work that explores traditional sculptural themes such as materiality, geometry and form. 'untitled folder' also explores concepts and ideas associated with software art such as mathematics, code and organisational systems.
Now in its second edition for an updated operating system (OS X), 'untitled folder' has evolved and grown, further exploring the concepts around limitations and infinity that the first edition addressed.
"In computing, a folder is a graphical user interface metaphor for a directory in a file system." Wikipedia
Gilmore states: "The folder is a container for storing and organising files and other folders. A directory nested within a directory is a subdirectory of its parent directory. In graphical user interface (virtual) environments folders are usually depicted with icons resembling physical folders similar to those used in an (actual) office environment.
"The folder is therefore a metaphor for the directory which is a filing system concept. This is an important aspect of the project and one that can only be fully appreciated when viewing folders on different operating systems."
Like Brancusi's 'Endless Column', 'untitled folder' alludes to the infinite. Conceptually one imagines that the nested folders continue forever in an endless pattern of recursive containment. In reality the structure is limited to 64 by current filesystem limitations.
The filepath character limit in OS X (10.1-10.4) is 1,024 bytes (1 ASCII character = 1 byte). This is equivalent to 64 nested folders named 'untitled folder' ('untitled folder' equals fifteen characters including the space, the forward slash separating each directory equals one character):
64(15) + 64(1) = 1,024
Once the filepath limit of 1,024 bytes is met or exceeded various problems are encountered which vary from system to system. In OS 10.4 any file contained in the innermost nested folder is 'blackholed', it cannot be opened, previewed or archived. In OS 10.5.2 the 64th folder is inaccessible, nothing can be stored inside it. Once created, 'untitled folder' is also difficult to archive, share, store or delete. These undocumented features have potentially serious consequences, an aspect ‘untitled folder’ highlights.
The mkdir command in the Unix operating system is used to make a new directory. The following script when executed in the Terminal is designed to create 64 nested folders, however, its success - although theoretically possible - is unpredictable and dependent upon operating system:
X=1 while [ $X -le 64 ] do mkdir 'untitled folder' cd 'untitled folder' X=$((X+1)) done
WARNING: Utilising the above script may incur irreparable damage to your filesystem. Execution is at the user's own risk.
Fällt are grateful to the following for their help and support in realising this project: Roc Jimenez de Cisneros, Nicholas Kove, Fehler, W. Conrad Röntgen, Niels Bohr and Dennis Ritchie.