DataGhost Defragmenter

bcchang.com / art / DataGhost Defragmenter
CD-ROM, 2001

The DataGhost Defragmenter is a piece of software-art masquerading as a piece of actual software. A "defragmenter" is a disk utility that optimizes and cleans hard drives by removing and compacting the dead space left on the drive when files are deleted. Disks that have not been defragmented can easily become filled with small pieces of files that were supposedly deleted; these fragments can remain even after the entire drive is erased. These data fragments are like something we try hard to erase and forget but that keeps coming back, like a memory that won't stay repressed.

The DataGhost Defragmenter analyzes your hard drive, discovering a trace memory imprint of an entire previous operating system. Reconstructing it from data fragments, like an archaeologist unearthing a forgotten ruin, the Defragmenter attempts to completely erase this echo of the machine's past. However, the situation rapidly spins out of control as the data fragments begin spilling out of their boundaries, polluting the desktop, spawning and multiplying until the whole interface collapses.