Anti Heroes

Antirom’s 1994 CD-ROM proved seminal in the early days of interactive design and a career defining moment for Paul Webb and his generation. 

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Almost twenty years ago I was given a mysterious CD-Rom whilst studying graphics in Salford. The disc contained a collection of interactive audiovisual pieces which completely changed the way I saw my future in design.

The CD-Rom was self-published by the collective known as Antirom. The London-based group included members of Tomato, Underworld, brothers Nik & Tom Roope and Andy Cameron, who sadly passed away in 2012. It was a highly collaborative working process and none of them had a background in code.

The pieces or ‘toys’ were fun, playful, and non-linear, provoking an emotional response that I hadn’t previously experienced  from any other digital artefact. Through this and future projects, Antirom probed the boundaries and potential of interactivity. It helped in establishing new, engaging methods of interaction and user-interface design. Antirom were a huge inspiration on myself and my peers, pushing the potential of digital technology and the relationships between the audio and the visual.

Antirom disrupted a still embryonic industry searching for ways forward. This innovative spirit was seen in similar experiments from many designers, collectives and companies, an approach which I hope continues to emerge in contemporary design and technology.