Do not refresh your browser. This is an architectural optical illusion that makes an entire building look like a bad Street View capture reloading over dialup.
This glitch art architecture (glitchitecture?) named H3333333K is the work of the artists Domagoj Smoljo and Carmen Weisskop, who you’ll know best for building a bot which bought hundreds of items on the dark web and was subsequently “arrested” by Swiss police. The duo, which is known as !Mediengruppe Bitnik, will be showcasing some of those illegally purchased products inside as part of the Art Basel art fair.
The building itself is actually home to the House of Electronic Arts museum, which was completed last year, glitch-free. Smoljo and Weisskop then got the original contractors to come back and alter the facade, which included shifting columns and pipes to make them appear as if they’d taken a digital hit.
The building’s Max Headroom appearance brings to mind the fantastic Apple Maps fails where graphic hiccups turned bridges into cascading steps and roads into rumpled concrete. In real life, it’s kind of the opposite of the growing trend of public art where you have to stand in a certain place to see an image line up, like the anamorphic illusions by artist Felice Varini. There are actually some excellent details in the railings, which look completely convincing from a distance.
Although the jarring finished product looks like the building was seismically shifted a few feet in places, the structural incongruities are only skin-deep. However, there’s no plan to undo the changes after its Art Basel run. Which means pedestrians passing the building will be doing double takes from the footpath for years to come.