Things are extremely hectic at the moment. I'm working on revisions to a forthcoming book essay while also editing some ph.d theses from my ESL students, while OF COURSE still trying to think of something amazing and orginial for my own research...all of this while tripping over millions of banana boxes filled with books. We've hired the van for Thursday and hopefully by Saturday eve. we'll be all sorted and in our new (albeit shared) abode.


[technology and power]

Such complexities can arise thanks to new technologies. I have in mind instances of music groups (like Radiohead) who's album was available on an mp3 download site three months before its scheduled release. Although the album was available online can we assume that the same people who would purchase the physical album would prefer to download a digital version? This is where questions of power come in I think. Who has access to the internet and to mp3 (or video) sites? Who has the knowledge to dowload (protected) mp3s and listen to them (or convert them)? Similarly, who has access to DVDs. Although cheaper and more readily available that when they first arrived on the scene, I wonder if the DVD version reaches a different audience from the television viewers? In the case of DVDs of television series, Deana Myers, senior analyst with Kagan Research, says "There are two types of people. One type waits for it to come out on DVD and watches it all at once, and the other wants to watch it immediately."
With regards to internet technology I wonder who are the "power users." Is there a "profile" which points to savvy professionals, high-income earners, self-employed, secondary-age students (and how does geographical location affect this?) or is there no profile (like with suicide bombers?)...I find this fascinating especially when I think of places like Bangalore (which evokes in me ideas of dusty streets, millions of people milling about, the odd cow crossing the road) that have witnessed an incredible and almost immediate growth thanks to technology and outsourcing.


[images from vasto]

It was wonderful to hear the sound of the sea and feel the very warm breeze (28C)- both served to stir my creative juices.

Here are some of the scenic shots.


[temporarily incommunicado]

Today I'm off to my sunny home town of Vasto. While I love the beaches, food, and relaxed pace (unless I actually want to get something done), I HATE not having the 24/7 availability of the internet to which I've grown too accustomed. Boo hoo. Thus, for the next week I'll be missing the tiny icon on my taskbar which usually glows green with connectivity...oh, 'tis to mourn...

Perhaps I'll incur some jealousy with aptly placed photos instead?

[digital poetics]

If it is true that the devil's in the details,
then most of what has been written in new
media studies is truly angelic. - Matt Kirschenbaum
In “Bandwidth as an Accessibility Issue,” written by Millie Niss on the Writing and the Digital Life blog, highlights current problematics involved with the production and creation of digital art. Just as Brenda Laurel, twelve years ago, encouraged us to see the computer interface not as simply a “transfer link” ( Computers as Theatre, 35) but as a stage for performance, Millie tackles the current state of digital invention and directly questions the poetics of “web art.”

If aesthetics signifies the artistic idea and poetics indicates the way the artist gives shape/form to her (or his) creation, then is Millie drawing our attention to a double-bind? (To create with one’s audience firmly in mind but simultaneously aware of the extreme diversity that implies). It seems that in order to make web art available to users/viewers/readers (?) one must create with audience accessibility in mind; i.e. conscious of narrow bandwidth etc... Does this awareness then suggest that the artistic creation is no longer simply “inspired” and then articulated, but now after inspiration and before creation, the artist must devise solutions which enable widespread interaction? As Millie says, this stance involves greater time and education as artists must learn to programme and I wonder if this step also creates a more expansive gap between the artistic idea and its production and if so, does it pose a problem?
Web artists, then, seem to consider the relationship between the art and the audience not one of passive consumption or dynamic interaction, but one of complex communication between interactor and interface. Can we say that digital art is not so much “an” artwork but a network of potentialities? Do web artists create a myriad of potentials and readers/users/viewers interact or activate individualised versions?
I think the questions raised here on “Writing and the Digital Life” are evidence of the changing aesthetics and poetics of art. Within a certain tradition of art, one might say that art stands alone and in front of the viewer (painting on canvas, prose on paper, images on video). With the arrival and development of web-based art, the way the art work is presented or shown becomes of tantamount importance and interest. In Millie’s case it is an awareness of bandwidth but I think one can extend this attention to the interface as a reconfiguration of the role of the audience. Digital artists, then, do not seem solely concerned with making art available, but with making the art accessible.

Any thoughts?


[baby alexa]

Just a quick note, or rather pic. The lastest photo of Jo-ann's baby Alexa wearing my gift! All together now: ooooh.