In 1998 the IEFT proposed the implementation of a new internet protocol: the Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol. Also known as HTCPCP, this protocol proposal was created to control, monitor, and diagnose coffee pots on the internet. It was filled with beautifully nonsensical statements, including:
*418 I’m a Teapot*
"Any attempt to brew coffee with a teapot should result in the HTTP error code ‘418 I’m a teapot and the resulting entity body MAY be short and stout’."
Despite being an absurdist joke, “418 I’m a teapot” was still implemented as a completely legitimate and real status error that you can hypothetically encounter in your browser. In this seemingly contradictory meaninglessness between the hard rules of technological standardization and nonsensical wit, you can find the ideas drive this studio.
“418 I’m a Teapot” signifies that despite the fact that our lives are increasingly governed by the cold hard logic of automated systems and algorithms, there exists shards of human humour, inconsistency, ingenuity, contradiction, and warmth hidden in between. “I’m a Teapot” is an emotional glitch in the architecture of the internet, a polysemantic Easter Egg that conflates the digital and real.
The 418 error symbolizes a different way of thinking about the digital as humanistic technologists, taking the cultural and social dimensions of new media and emerging technologies into account when conceptualizing creative project or developing product prototypes.
We want to think about how the present and the future can be reshaped to be more human, more conscientious, and more sustainable. We do this through utilizing methodologies such as design research, critical design, speculative design, and experience design.
internet teapot is a Rotterdam-based collaboration that focuses on speculative and critical design projects and research. The studio stems from shared interests in digital culture, critical theory, and the belief that design can be used in a socially transformative way.
Karla Zavala Barreda is a Peruvian researcher, designer, and digital project manager, who works at the intersection of software, design, and education. She has a master’s degree in Media Arts Cultures and is currently a PhD candidate in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam where she does research on apps ecology and learning software aimed at young children. @karlazavala
Adriaan Odendaal is a multimedia and content designer from South Africa, whose work revolves around algorithmic literacy, critical and speculative design, digital culture as well as game/software studies. He is currently a PhD candidate in Societal Impact of AI at Erasmus University in Rotterdam with a focus on the impact of AI technologies on the cultural sector.