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digital archaeology, an exhibition of web’s lost past, to make u.s. debut at internet week new york, june 6-13

For information, photos, interviews, contact:

Stef Shapira,
Patrick Kowalczyk,
PKPR, 212-627-8098

Co-presented by Google, exhibit brings early and influential websites back to life, displayed on vintage hardware of their time

New York, NY (May 23, 2011) – The first-ever archaeological dig of the Internet, Digital Archaeology, will bring some of the Internet’s earliest and most influential websites back to life in an interactive exhibition that will make its U.S. debut at Internet Week New York from June 6-13.

Visitors will have the opportunity to surf a total of 28 bygone sites on the vintage hardware and software corresponding to the period of each site’s launch. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a display of The Project (1991), which reunites the first-ever website created by World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, with the pioneering NeXT Cube and the Nexus browser.

Other highlights include leading lights from New York City’s early digital scene such as (1995), one of the Web’s first e-zines, and The Blue Dot (1995), an art and design playground by pioneering online agency Razorfish. The exhibit also features experimental browser The Web Stalker (1997) and the self-destructing website for the film “Requiem for a Dream” (2000).

Presented by UK advertising agency Story Worldwide in partnership with Google, Digital Archaeology made its debut last year at London’s Internet Week Europe in an exhibition conceived and curated by Jim Boulton, Deputy Managing Director of Story Worldwide. In partnership with Google Inc., the New York version has been expanded with 16 additional sites, including 10 that originated in the U.S.

Now in its fourth year, Internet Week New York has become one of the world’s top events celebrating digital culture. More than 20,000 people are expected to attend over 250 conferences, meet-ups, exhibits, parties and more held at the Internet Week New York headquarters and venues across the city.

A centerpiece of Internet Week New York’s headquarters at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, the exhibition will allow visitors to interact with each site on a historically accurate monitor, while examining other technological artifacts from the same period, such as DVDs, mobile phones, and more. Visitors will be able to vote on their favorite sites by pointing their smartphones at QR codes on each display. People around the world can also view the exhibit online and cast their votes.

Digital Archaeology will also feature video interviews with some of the sites’ founders, such as’s Marisa Bowe and Razorfish founder Craig Kanarick, many of whom dug up long-defunct original code in order to revive their creations for the exhibition.

The exhibition will also showcase more recent innovators, including Burger King’s Subservient Chicken (2004), in which a person dressed as a chicken followed viewers’ commands; HBO’s Voyeur (2007), a pioneer in multi-channel storytelling; Wilderness Downtown (2010), which used Google maps to customize an Arcade Fire music video for each viewer; and artist Jonathan Harris’s We Feel Fine (2006), an emotional barometer for the Web.

“With this exhibition, Internet Week has helped ensure the preservation of sites which, though no longer active, are permanently encoded in the Web’s DNA, forever influencing how we play and interact with this young yet ubiquitous medium,” said Boulton. “The historic and cultural relevance of these artifacts can’t be overstated. We’re proud to play a role in reminding the world of both their achievement and the importance of archiving the Web’s treasures.”

To kick off the exhibition on June 6th, Abbie Grotke, Web Archiving Team Lead from the Library of Congress, will deliver a keynote speech at the Metropolitan Pavilion’s AOL Broadcast Stage about the Library’s digital content preservation efforts.

“It's exciting to see so many examples of the early web on display at the ‘Digital Archaeology’ exhibition in New York,” said Grotke. “As a cultural heritage institution, the Library of Congress believes we have to preserve web content so that this part of our cultural history is not lost to future generations."

“We’re thrilled to be showcasing this important exhibit which celebrates the early Internet’s best and brightest sites, many of which came into being right here in New York,” said David-Michel Davies, Chairman of Internet Week New York. “The brilliance of the visionaries behind these sites only becomes more remarkable with the passage of time.”

The complete collection to be exhibited is as follows:


Organisation: CERN
Designed by: Tim Berners-Lee
Built in: HTML 1.0

It all began at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in March of 1989. Tim Berners-Lee recognized that although CERN was nominally organized into a traditional hierarchical management structure, it was in fact a “multiply connected web” and needed an information system to match. His proposal was to use hypertext (coined by Ted Nelson in 1963) to connect and share documents on personal computers (invented by H. Edward Roberts in 1974) via the internet (described by Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn in 1974).

In 1990 Berners-Lee realized The Project by creating a browser-editor that ran on the now obsolete NeXTStep Operating System. He called it the WorldWideWeb. The first website, describing The Project, was published the following year in 1991. The original website no longer exists and no screenshots were made. The earliest copy available, shown here, is from 1992.

ANTIROM – 1994

Agency: Antirom
Designed: Andy Allenson, Joel Baumann, Andy Cameron, Rob LeQuesne, Luke Pendrell, Sophie Pendrell, Andy Polaine, Anthony Rodgers, Nicolas Roope, Tom Roope, Joe Stephenson, Jason Tame
Built in: Director 5

The Antirom art collective was formed in London in 1994 as a “protest against ill-conceived point-and-click interfaces grafted onto repurposed old content repackaged as multimedia.” With the radical vision to explore interaction as a media in its own right rather than as an interface for content, the collective changed the face of interactive design.

Developed rapidly by multiple authors, Antirom’s interactive experiments often revolved around a single idea, such as sound mixing or scrolling. Although always entertaining, these playful, interactive “toys” could deliberately confound, forcing the user into an active relationship with the media. The original Antirom CD-ROM, now a collector’s item, was self-published and funded by a grant from the Arts Council of Great Britain. Design agency Tomato contributed graphically, and the band Underworld provided the music.

WORD.COM – 1995

Organisation: Word Magazine
Edited by: Marisa Bowe
Designed by: Yoshi Sodeoka
Built in: HTML 2.0, Director 5 (Shockwave), Real Audio

Launched in 1995 by Editor Marisa Bowe and Creative Director Jamie Levy, was one of the earliest and most influential e-zines. Unlike many web publications of the time, which simply re-created the print magazine format online, was a true multimedia experience, incorporating games, audio, and chat. Its DIY ethos and first-person conversational style immediately appealed to its audience of “underachieving sub-geniuses,” and the site was soon receiving 95,000 page views a day.

Its authentic content (notably the Shockwave game SiSSYFiGHT, often cited as one of the earliest examples of massively multiplayer online games) and Sodeoka’s icon-driven design influenced hundreds of other sites. Although never a commercial success, was far from naïve — a pioneer in the use of online advertising, it was the first website to integrate paid for branded microsites.


Agency: Razorfish
Designed and curated by: Craig Kanarick
Built in: HTML 2.0, Director 5 (Shockwave), Real Audio

Razorfish became one of the world’s most established digital agencies partly because of a bouncing blue dot. Created out of an apartment in the East Village, its homepage utilized the server-push GIF-animation capabilities of Netscape Navigator 1.1 to create the first animated website — crashing many a browser in the process.

Razorfish founders Jeffrey Dachis and Craig Kanarick followed this milestone with one of the first online art galleries, The Blue Dot. Created “for our souls” rather than commercial gain, The Blue Dot was a playground of art, design, photography, and provocation, showcasing work by artists like Ryan McGinness, Spencer Tunick, and Jill Greenberg. It notoriously included such delights as “The Society for the Recapture of Virginity” and “Dick for a Day.”

The Blue Dot is now in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


Agency: Maeda Studio
Designed by: John Maeda
Built in: HTML 2.0, Java

Designer, programmer, technologist, artist, professor, author: John Maeda is all of these and more. Now president of the Rhode Island School of Design, the former associate research director of MIT’s Media Lab has also enjoyed a long and productive commercial partnership with Japanese cosmetic brand Shiseido. Commissioned to accompany Shiseido’s orchid e-commerce service, John Maeda’s CyberOrchid, built as a Java applet, was one of the first e-card tools.

Maeda’s work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.


Agency: I/O/D
Designed by: Matthew Fuller, Colin Green, Simon Pope
Built in: Director 6

Webby Award-winner and “the first internet application designed by artists,” The Web Stalker is an experimental browser developed by British web-art activists I/O/D. Working on the principle that the browsers of the day (Navigator 4.01 and Explorer 3.0) were built to fulfill commercial imperatives determined by advertisers and software corporations rather than the information needs of the individual, The Web Stalker browser strips out the superfluous, so only the raw text, links, meta data remain.

The Web Stalker gives the user control to define how he views a page instead of passively absorb a layout where style is prioritized over substance. A map function plots hyperlinks and pages using circles to represent URLs and lines to represent links. Text is viewed in a separate window. Graphics, JavaScript, applets, plugins, and just about everything else are defiantly ignored.


Agency: PlayCreate
Designed by: Daniel Brown
Built in: Director 6

Daniel Brown’s interactive landscape of building blocks, inspired by the computer games of the 1980s, introduced a playfulness to web design largely absent at the time. Instead of using Shockwave to create an interactive piece within a page, Brown used it to create an entire website out of Director and, in the process, created a more immersive, holistic experience.

Brown was named Designer of the Year by the Design Museum in 2004, and Jonathan Ive said of him, “Daniel Brown’s work changes the way we look at and engage with digital imagery. It is technically innovative and emotionally engaging but also gives us an extraordinary amount of freedom in the way we experience it.”

Noodlebox appears in the San Francisco MOMA and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).


Agency: Head New Media
Developed by: Jason Holland, Felix Velarde, John Lundberg, Matthew Glubb
Built in: HTML 3.2, Director 5

Head New Media was founded by Jason Holland and Felix Velarde in 1997, both previously at one of the very first web-design agencies, HyperInteractive, which was cofounded by Velarde in 1994.

While at Head New Media, Holland and Velarde sponsored a non-commercial online creative community called Head-Space. Britain’s more political answer to The Blue Dot, this free hosted environment gave its employees room for creative expression and inducted them into the company. The space incubated several prominent sites of the time including Brixton-based community website Urban 75 and John Lundberg’s but was perhaps most famous for the interactive game “Slap a Spice Girl”.

K10K – 1998

Agency: Cuban Council
Designed by: Toke Nygaard, Michael Schmidt
Built in: HTML 4.0

Also known as “The Designers’ Lunchbox,” the K10k site was the result of a chance meeting online between Toke Nygaard and Michael Schmidt. Inspired by sites like and, the Danes decided to create a similar space but “fresher and funkier, and updated every single week.”

A clear homage to Apple’s iconic ’80s interface designed by Susan Kare, Nygaard and Schmidt’s iconic pixelated design, together with their commitment to content, non-profit ethos, not to mention sheer stamina, has led K10k to become one of the web-design industry’s most beloved sites.


Developed by: Han Hoogerbrugge
Built in: GIF, Flash 3

Starting as a comic strip in 1996, Dutchman Han Hoogerbrugge began publishing his Modern Living / Neurotica animations to his website as a series of looping GIFs in ’98. Soon afterward, he progressed to Flash, which introduced an interactive element to his art.

Describing his work as an ongoing self-portrait, the central theme of Hoogerbrugge’s work is his battle with modern life. The repetitive, jerky nature of his animations that so accurately reflect his neurosis are actually a result of the bandwidth restrictions of 1998. A 28k modem necessitates the short, low-frame-rate animations he has become famous for. The series concluded in 2001 when the 100th episode was published. Subsequent work includes the non-linear interactive story “Hotel,” developed for the Submarine Channel.

YUGOP.COM – 1999

Developed by: Yugo Nakamura
Built in: Flash 4

When Yugo Nakamura unveiled his MONO*crafts site at in 1999, it made an entire industry stop and draw a breath. One of the first designers to embrace and exploit the potential of ActionScript, Nakamura’s interactive environments were very fluid, calming, and natural. Previously a gardener, he quotes an old Japanese saying: “Rather than beautifying one’s own creation, make better the environment that surrounds it” — in other words, better to make a beautiful user experience than a beautiful website.

Nakamura said that with MONO*crafts he was aiming “to try and achieve something of the beauty that the craftsman produces” and in so doing produce something of lasting value. He tests this during the creative process by asking himself, “When I look at this five years later, will I still think of it as good?” Yes, Mr. Nakamura.


Agency: Tubatomic
Developed by: Alex Ogle, Aaron Hoffman, Aaron Weber
Built in: Flash 3

In 1999, Jonni Nitro was the most exciting animation on the web. Centered around a female secret agent on a quest against an unnamed terrorist threat, Jonni Nitro, G-Woman took its visual cues from graphic novels like Frank Miller’s Sin City. Using a highly stylized video-to-vector process, the animated series pushed Flash way beyond its apparent capabilities and exposed Kansas-based Tubatomic to a global audience.

MTV2 – 1999

Agency: Digit
Developed by: Sanky, Mickey Stretton
Built in: Flash 8, Vectra 3D, 3D Studio Max, Swift 3D

Digit’s BAFTA Award-winning website for MTV2 is notable not only because of the flawless creative execution, but also for marking the first time the web creative led the TV and print campaigns. The site is reminiscent of first-person shooter games like Doom or Quake, and there are more subtle culture references to classic video games and science-fiction movies throughout. At one point, a faceted block rises and exits the screen in homage to the Millennium Falcon; in another, a landscape is reminiscent of a pared-down cityscape from Blade Runner.

Built largely in Flash, the site also exploited multiple 3D-authoring tools like Vecta 3D, 3D Studio Max, and Swift 3D. Since it didn’t rely on a single piece of software, it manages to maintain a crafted aesthetic.


Agency: Joshua Davis Studio
Developed by: Joshua Davis
Built in: Flash 4

Joshua Davis wanted to write and illustrate children’s books. After his first two attempts received two rejection letters, a friend told him, “You don’t need them anymore — there’s this whole internet thing happening. You can self-publish.” Davis went out and bought a book on HTML and changed the face of interaction design forever.

PrayStation was Joshua Davis’s sketchbook — an experimental personal site of digital exploration, a place where, success and failure were both documented, learned from and generously shared. Lessons weren’t all that were given away: PrayStation was one of the first sites to provide its source files free. Fuelled by his obsessive nature, the site evolved at an astonishing rate, and Davis built a devoted audience and a deserved reputation as the most exciting web designer on the planet.

BARNEYS – 2000

Agency: Kioken
Developed by: Joshua Davis, Eric Wysocan
Built in: Flash 4

Founded by Peter Kang and Gene Na in 1999, one of Kioken’s early websites was for the R & B singer Brandy, and a string of entertainment clients followed, most notably including Jennifer Lopez, Motown, and Bad Boy Records.

Criticized by some for a lack of usability, Kioken was resolute in its belief that audiences raised in the video game era were practiced in deciphering interfaces and in fact, they took pleasure in the experience. Taking their cue from TV and video games, Kioken’s websites had a depth and emotional quality absent from their counterparts. Full-bleed images, parallax movement, and floating palettes were used with great effect, all coming together beautifully on According to Na, it’s simple: “You have to think beyond the limits of a page.”


Agency: Hi-ReS!
Designed by: Alexandra Jugovic and Florian Schmitt
Built in: Flash 4.0

Hi-ReS! leapt onto our screens in 1999 following the launch of their experimental website, “an exhibition of anti-banners.” Twelve million page views later, the site caught the attention of the film director Darren Aronofsky, and he gave founders Alexandra Jugovic and Florian Schmitt their first commercial project, building the website for his new film Requiem for a Dream.

Like all Hi-ReS! film websites since, the result is much more than a trailer: It’s a cinematic gem in its own right. Requiem for a Dream is about addiction, compulsion, and inevitable descent. The website investigates similar web-based behaviors, particularly online gambling and the “morbid patterns the medium is able to create in its users.” As the user descends deeper into the malfunctioning website, it gradually deteriorates and finally falls apart, ejecting the visitor in its death throes. Compelling stuff.


Agency: Large
Developed by: Turan Devecioglu, Lars Jørgensen, Jesper Lycke, Simon Robson, Wee-bing Tan, Ross Timms
Built in: PHP, HTML 4.01, Flash 4

Founded by Jim Boulton and Lars Hemming Jorgensen, Large was a child of London’s Hypermedia Research Centre. Run by the eminent social theorist Richard Barbrook, the seminal interactive agency Antirom and open-source champion Jeremy Quinn, the HRC was dubbed the British answer to MIT’s Media Lab by The Guardian.

The site Large developed for B&O was one of the first ecommerce sites to recognise the power of content, with a new site with a fresh focus published every month. Epitomising B&Os key value of re-invention and harking back to Tim Berners-Lee’s original very first webpage, the site was fused with a bespoke browser. Also incorporating an intelligent system that published content based on visitors user journeys, the site drew widespread critical acclaim and was called “the most beautiful website in the world” by the Financial Times.

FLIGHT 404 – 2001

Developed by: Robert Hodgin
Built in: Flash 5

Perhaps the most controversial portfolio sites of all time, Flight404 version 5 by Robert Hodgin details the fictional disappearance of a plane, its passengers, and crew over the Atlantic. Hodgin scoured eBay for a flight data recorder and a collection of airport maps, which he bought from an ex-American Airlines pilot. The site used a plan of the plane as a navigation system with an interactive experiment behind each seat. A bug prevented it from launching on its scheduled date, September 10th. Two weeks later, when President Bush raised the White House flag back to full mast, it went live. Hodgin was pilloried and infamy ensued, quickly followed by a $3,000 hosting bill. After being arrested for shooting video of the planes taking off from Logan Airport, Hodgin started working on version 6 of his portfolio.


Agency: North Kingdom
Developed by: Charlotta Havh, Roger Stighall
Built in: Flash MX

When Vodafone commissioned North Kingdom to develop a website that depicts a vision of the future of mobile communications, it did so with an open brief. North Kingdom was not only involved with the design and execution of the site, but also collaborated on what the future might look like. And it did so with remarkable foresight, predicting the prevalence of geo-location technology, electronic paper, foldable screens, tablet devices, and the dominance of touch-screen interfaces, three years before the launch of the iPhone.

The rich environment North Kingdom developed focused on the social benefits of tomorrow’s technology. Based on the themes Entertain, Work, Care, and Belong, visitors follow a person into the future, encountering different everyday situations in which mobile technology could be involved. The result sums up North Kingdom’s philosophy perfectly: “The best ideas don’t need explaining.”


Agency: The Barbarian Group
Developed by: Keith Butters
Built in: Flash MX

When ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky wanted its creation for Burger King brought to life online, it turned to long-term collaborator The Barbarian Group. Its response was to create an interactive video-based site that allowed visitors to control the chicken via their keyboards. Playing on transgressive webcam culture, more than 300 different clips were tagged with all manner of commands, and, a year before YouTube existed and six years before the Tipp-Ex bear, a much-imitated format was born.

With 25 million visits in the first 48 hours and, crucially, before the above-the-line campaign had launched, this was the site that signified the rupture in marketing. The game had changed: The balance of power had shifted permanently toward digital.

GIFT MIXER 3000 – 2004

Agency: Firstborn
Developed by: Joonyong Park, Michael Ferdman
Built in: Flash MX

A digital hybrid of HAL 9000 and a mixing deck, Firstborn’s Gift Mixer 3000 for Borders is Artificial Intelligence with a sense of humor, a “living, breathing, walking, talking, gift-matching machine.”

Using a scale of one to 10, shoppers slide equalizer buttons on the screen to indicate how romantic, adventurous, imaginative, brainy, and funny the person they’re buying for is, and the Gift Mixer responds with suggestions for books, music, and movies. Hilariously, the tool also offers lively commentary as the visitor glides the sliders into position. It’s this personality that gives the tool such viral appeal.

A branded utility before the term existed, Gift Mixer 3000 makes people’s lives easier and entertains them in the process. It also happened to sell a lot of books.


Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors
Developed by: Kokokaka
Built in: Flash 8

Forsman & Bodenfors’s groundbreaking website for IKEA consists of six kitchens frozen in time and space. In one, a champagne bottle erupts and the bubbles hang in midair. In another, steam suspends inanimately above a frying pan. As visitors explore the 3D panoramic views of each kitchen, they are treated to Matrix-style special effects. Combining “bullet time” and kitchens is about as ambitious as it gets, and the IKEA Dream Kitchen website has rightfully received the plaudits ever since.


Developed by: Jonathan Harris, Sep Kamvar
Built in: Java, Perl, Processing

Constantly searching the web for new occurrences of the phrases “I feel” and “I am feeling” and recording the subsequent adjective, We Feel Fine is a barometer for the world’s emotions. By categorizing these feelings by the age, gender, and location of the author and beautifully displaying the results as individual colored dots, the site becomes “an artwork authored by everyone.”

Are women more emotional than men? Do our feelings change as we age? Are people happier when the sun is shining? We Feel Fine answers these questions through millions of individual stories yet reduces them to a data set, dehumanizing us and humanizing the machine in the process.


Agency: Poke
Developed by: Nicolas Roope, Nicky Gibson, Igor Clark
Built in: Flash CS3

Long-term client Orange approached Poke to communicate the “Unlimited” message it was using to unify its mobile data and broadband offers. Poke’s response was to build the world’s first never-ending webpage — one that visitors could never reach the bottom of. Even more impressive, the perpetually extending page is a rich collection of animations, mini-games, and interactive toys and appears to never repeat itself. This playful and shareable idea was also provocative, challenging people to try to “beat it,” some resting books on their keyboards overnight in the endeavor.

This Webby Award-winning website received over a million unique visits and had almost 70,000 elements shared across social networks.

Agency: Projector
Developed by: Koichiro Tanaka
Built in: Flash CS3

UNIQLO’s distinct approach to digital marketing started in 2007 with Projector’s groundbreaking “UNIQLOCK,” a downloadable dynamic tool and blog utility that displays real-time branded content both online and on the user’s desktop. At first glance, UNIQLOCK seems like a glorified screensaver; however, it is actually a sophisticated content-distribution tool that unlocks exclusive branded materials and displays it on the user’s desktop. The constantly updated content combines graphics, music, dance, and product in a way that transcends language barriers.

Within six months, there had been over 175,000 downloads and 68 million views from more than 200 countries. The dance audition videos reside on YouTube and have been viewed over a million times.


Agency: BBDO / Big Spaceship
Developed by: Bill Bruce, David Lubars, Jake Scott, James Widegren
Built in: Flash CS3

Voyeurism is part of human nature: We are fascinated by other people, and the web has given us the unchecked ability to spy on others without censure. The HBO Voyeur advertising campaign plays on this shared guilty pleasure.

Created by BBDO to demonstrate the evolution of the HBO brand across multiple platforms, the campaign consisted of a four-minute film projected onto the side of an apartment block in New York and original content distributed across the social web. All held together by a highly sophisticated website developed by Big Spaceship, this is a master class in multichannel storytelling.


Agency: Story Worldwide
Developed by: Kalle Everland, Lars Hemming Jørgensen, Steffen List, Rory McHarg
Built in: Flash 8, HTML 4.01, PHP 3

Story Worldwide (previously Large Design) created a series of audacious websites for Agent Provocateur between 2004 and 2007. Rich with content, these sites commanded a global audience and were referred to by Vogue magazine as the “sexiest sites on the web.” Some claim.

Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, the 2007 website was based on one of the most neglected areas of popular culture, the trashy novel. In the early twentieth century, pulp fiction was churned out in every imaginable genre, and their covers and titles were intense, exploitative, sexy, and graphic featuring some of the most provocative imagery of the time. Rory McHarg reimagined this cover art for Agent Provocateur, retaining the intensity but ensuring women were portrayed in positions of strength. In the words of Joe Corré, “The website does more than sell; it’s about telling a story, taking people on a personal adventure.”


Agency: Google Creative Labs / B-Reel
Developed by: Aaron Koblin, Chris Milk, Eduard Prats Molner, Ben Tricklebank
Built in: HTML 5, Google Maps

An interactive video set to Arcade Fire’s "We Used to Wait", The Wilderness Downtown was the most talked about website of 2010. A collaboration between the band, film director Chris Milk, digital production company B-Reel and Google, the interactive film unfolds across multiple windows, following the visitor on a run around the streets of their hometown to the tune of the Arcade Fire track. Exploiting Google Maps and Google Street View in a totally original way, the experience is truly personal, taking the viewer back to the endless possibilities of their youth.

A modern classic, the individuality of The Wilderness Downtown, experience demonstrates the difficulty of archiving the social web and asks the question of whether it is necessary at all. After all, we don’t archive our offline experience.

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