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Crack a Virtual Musician's Code, Get the Real Artist's Unreleased Material

'TCFX' is a cryptographic online persona of Norwegian artist TCF that can chat, answer questions, and basically hang out with you..

by Kevin Holmes
20 January 2015, 3:30pm


An image from TCFX that you're greeted with after typing the "hello" command. Images via

Norwegian musician and artist TCF (aka Lars Holdhus) has released an online persona of himself for people to interact with, discover his music and art through, and talk to about the pleasantness of oolong tea. The algorithmic embodiment is called TCFX and is a "command centre consisting of thoughts available for those with patience," according to the artist.

Built in collaboration with design studio Remote, Tljtieue Bovitobenn, and Aedrhlsomrs Laucehrofn, the release is tied to TCF's 2014 album LTECH008: 415C47197F78E811FEEB7862288306EC4137FD4EC3DED8B released on Liberation Technologies. Like that album, TCFX also uses puzzles to convey hidden meanings. "It relates to cryptography in several ways," TCF explains. "If you type in the right codes you will be served material that hasn't been released before. If you manage to figure out what to ask the command line it will return you a surprising answer."

TCFX answers questions about unreleased material

Cryptography is embedded in TCF's work in different ways, evident in his art, the music itself, and in the titles of his songs. The hidden messages and codes create new meanings in his work.Guy Birkin of blog Aesthetic Complexity, for instance, has decoded the last track from LTECH008: 415C47197F78E811FEEB7862288306EC4137FD4EC3DED8B in this blog post, and found that it contains a hidden spectrogram of an image relating to the Greek protests in 2011.


TCFX defines art

The current release of TCFX is just the beginning of this kind of online presence for Holdhus. Future implementations will expand and upgrade the platform, growing it in complexity, and potentially even adding in artificial intelligence. Chat with the virtual TCF here, and watch an introductory video to the project, below. 

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