Despite being 99% bad, or perhaps because of this, Flash has been a hugely important cultural software.
It offered relatively easy access to making interactive motion graphics, delivered over low bandwidth, for art and videogames and many unclassifiable experiments. Artists from Rhizome’s Net Art Anthology, from Pope.L to Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries to Yael Kanarek, worked with the software in very different ways. It was used by big-name designers in New York, powering the early years of Joshua Davis’s PrayStation website, and was embraced by poets, musicians, and artists in Latin America, with projects such as Artéria 8. It was used for videogames, such as many many of those by Molleindustria, and for moving image works, such as this poem by Skawennati and Jason E. Lewis.
At the end of this year, Adobe will stop supporting the proprietary Flash Player software, and it will quickly disappear from web browsers. Preserving the ability to run Flash after this point will present particular difficulties, given the large amount of uses to which it has been applied: sound and video, interactive widgets, online games, animated cartoons, and even mobile and desktop software.
Rhizome’s plan is to work with its partners at University of Freiburg to upgrade our Emulation as a Service infrastructure to allow for better access, with smoother response time when interacting with the emulators, and faster emulator startup.