The mark of launch-and-learn publishing: corrections are generally made within 36 hours. Reduction for print-out is 80%.
by Jouke Kleerebezem
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my needs are my castle, my preferences are my kingdom
Let's get lost
The leave got out of hand. We got lost in NL to return a few hours ago. First checks after 9 days off-line: collect mail; meanwhile scan Alamut; check mail; in that order. Though I'm tempted to follow up on Paul's notes after our dinner, I have to get some sleep first. Best souvenirs that I brought home are the Gauloise blue Ikea woolen blanket that's wrapped around me (sure is cold in the big house) and a small 4 flower Phalaenopsis butterfly orchid that's next to the box. Later.
Qui ne risque rien, n'a rien. Let's get into trouble.
I'm gonna save my breath for a week. Gawd I hate this. Back October 12. But I'll be seeing some close friends. And... as my neighbours reminded me, I can look forward to returning here. Yeah, comforting. Hickey and Jeanette Winterson and Lewis Hyde are with me on this trip.
Here's to the Shopkeepers
Another dose of Dave Hickey this morning 3:30-5:00am. Re:reading him after a year is like: now, and new, much more revelatory than before. I don't know of any other (let alone art) 'critic'or rather storytellerwho shows the same superior discretion/engagement combination (marriage) with his material. It's rare, but as he himself explains:
- The stories that this book tells populate the deep background of everything I have ever written, and I am telling them now because too often in the past I have spoken their lessons in the shorthand of authority.
I have never taken anything printed in a book to heart that was not somehow confirmed in my ordinary experience -- and that did not, to some extent, reform and redeem that experience. Nor have I had any experience of high art that was not somehow confirmed in my experience of ordinary culture -- and that did not, to some extent, reform and redeem that. So I have tried to reinstate the connective tissues here, and, in the process, have written an odd sort of memoir: a memoir without tears, without despair or exaltation -- a memoir purged of those time-stopping exclamation points that punctuate all our lives.
Here's to the 'shopkeepers' who supply experiences and lessons and lovewithout the authoritative footnotes (taking example).
Trouble puppies: feed them. Getting into trouble means you're along the border, about to enter new territory. Trust your intuition and your skills, trust the tools you brought. Pay attention. Save your appetite as long as possible, trickster.
C'est toujours les autres qui demeurent. But something's changing.
From Beatriz Colomina's Privacy and Publicity; Modern Architecture as Mass Media, the introduction:
- It was 1981. New York. I was writing in Spanish and then translating into English. When, soon after, I tried my hand at English, I was shocked at the extent to which not only the way I was writing had changed but even what I was saying. It was as if with the language, I was also leaving behind a whole way of looking at things, of writing them. Even when we think we know what we are about to write, the moment we start writing, language takes us on an excursion of its own. And if that language is not ours, we are definitely in foreign territory. Lately, I have started to feel that way about Spanish. I have managed to become a foreigner in both languages, moving somewhat nomadically throught the discourse on an unofficial itinerary. Traces of this complicated movement can be found throughout this book. The text is somehow suspended between the languages and the times in which it was constructed.
World Animal Day
Still each year today's date at some point in the day sets a sudden mood with me: Werelddierendag. When our family lived in Wassenaar NL, every October 4, as early as possible, before school I went to the Dierenbescherming's small market booth on the corner of the Kerkdam and the Prinsenweg, to see the bibelots they were selling for fund raising. There was two nice ladies, who had collected these, mostly animal related, objets d'art, selling them at a price a 10 year old could afford. As I remember this, there's no other context than the booth, the merchandise on a clean white fabric, the ladies, the early October weather, and me. I'm sure their daughters are there today, giving our sons the courage to intimately (not ultimately, but that's for later) understand the world as animals' rights and needs, crafted petite objects, clean white fabric, charity, a small budget to spend, and choice to make. There's plenty other 'discovery channels' today, which appeal to dreams of orderly arrangement (>+ AltaVista's image search engine one could write a book aboutwhat's keeping me?). But at least once a year I sentimentaly stick with the make-believe reality of that enchanting table top universe.
A Mixed Bag
Order out of chaos. So they say.
With my present moods, I was bound to pick up Dave Hickey's Air Guitar; Essays on Art & Democracy at some (desperate) point. And start breathing again. Wave those arms. What it'll be: Rock and Roll, or Art and Money. (thank you Barbara Bloom for introducing DH's writing to me and giving AG as a present back in '98. It's a better stabilizer than the St. John's Worth that came with it: hey, 'culture is our nature'... I'll be writing you later, it's been too long). First some Hickey, on what the 20C was all about:
- Jazz presumes that it might be nice if the four of us, while playing this complicated song together, might somehow be free and autonomous as well. Tragically, this never quite works out. At best we can only be free one or two at a time, while the other dudes hold onto the wire.
Rock and roll, on the other hand, presumes that the four of us -- as damaged and as anti-social as we are -- might possibly get it to-fucking-gether, man, and play this simple song. And play it right, okay? Just this once, in tune and on the beat. But we can't. The song's too simple, and we're too complicated and excited. We try like hell, but the guitars distort, the intonation bends, and the beat just moves, imperceptibly, whether we want it to or not. Thus we create this hurricane of noise, this finitely complicated fractal filigree of delicate distinctions.
I mean look at the Stones. Keith Richards is always on top of the beat, and Bill Wyman, until he quit, was always behind it, because Richards is leading the band and Charlie Watts is listening to him and Wyman is listening to Watts. So the beat is sliding on those tiny neural lapses, not so you can tell, of course, but so you can feel it in your stomach. And the intonation is wavering too, with the pulse in the finger on the amplified string. This is the delicacy of rock and roll. And it has its virtues, because jazz only works if we're trying to be free and are in fact together. And rock and roll works because we're all a bunch of flakes. That's something you can depend on, and a good thing too, because in the Twentieth Century that's all there is: jazz and rock and roll. The rest is term papers and advertising.
Same book, in Dealing (Hickey was an art dealer, and some):
- Art and money never touch. They exist in parallel universes of value at comparable levels of cultural generalization: Art does nothing to money but translate it. Money does nothing to art but facilitate its dissemination and buy the occasional bowl of Wheaties for an artist or art dealer.Thus, when you trade a piece of green paper with a picture on it, signed by a bureaucrat, for a piece of white paper with a picture on it, signed by an artist, you haven't bought anything, since neither piece of paper is worth anything. You have translated your investment and your faith from one universe of value to another. (If you can't tell one universe from the other, that's your problem, etc.)
And guess what? This morning marked ± the return of a proud brown cock. Wonder where he hid.
I'm manic these days. Little sleep. Racing thoughts. Pacing back and forth in time. Everything I do either points me back or forward. The more-than-ever-before-in-my-life now, that I experience everyday, in a way escapes me, all the while the damn thrill is there. But in a sense, I'm incompetent: there's no now habit.
Getting rid of the gutless chicken this afternoon, strolling down the river with R+r, to find a place to dump it for the foxes to pick it up; was now. Speeding the car at 120k/h along the curly D23, earlier, was (not a very sensible thing to do, but) now. Opening the upstream lock and managing my waters is now, reading old ± Acconci is now (and then), putting up new stuff is now, and then, in the opposite direction. It's that damn break of re-invention, which disconnects my now from both the past and my future. It's not even a clean break either. Past and future nevertheless remain connected like they've always been, destined to each other, together to dissolve in the curriculum. Why the hell do I open all these boxes?, I might as well throw them all away, uninspected. Let's not waste (shelf, and memory space) (>+ burn, erase)
Ha!, unpacking yet more books, there's more surprises: like Dan O'Neillbought his Hear the Sound of My Feet Walking.. Drown the Sound of My Voice Talking.., at Dfl. 19,35 (so I must have sacrificed an LP for this comic: better be good), at the age of 16, in '69; let's see what his web cred is: hmm, better than Günther Walraff's. >+ http://www.oddbodkin.com. Even without the wonderful pics, this is a great opening dialogue:
- Hugh: Fred.. where is god?
- Fred: Who wants to know?
- Well.. considering the shape of the world, I thought it would be nice to know..
- Well.. this book says god is everywhere.. but, then.. who wrote this book..?
- Yes.. it's rather difficult to imagine..
- (snake): .. old Hugh is worried about the shape of the world..
- (turtle): I think it's shaped like an egg..
- F: Hey God!! where ARE you!?
- H: erk!
- s: noisy devil isn't he?
- t: as far as I'm concerned, his whole generation is a bit loud!!
Hugh mistakes Lulu (snake with a temper) for God, when he finds her under a rock, etc. More confusion to follow. Very 60's in the very best way. Apart from being a fabulous comic writer, Former SF Chronicle cartoonist O'Neill has a rough feltpenmanship drawing style. I know, there's none to compare to the Absolute, but his textual and visual humor do remind me of >+ George Herriman's Krazy Kat, at krazy.kom.
lef-to-rite KK kore: Offissa Pupp, Ignatz, Krazy
Some dialogue to wet your appetite for the Kat:
- Krazy: why is 'lenguage', Ignatz?
- Ignatz: "language" is, that we may understand one another
- is that so?
- yes, that's so.
- can you unda-stend a finn or a leplender or a oshkosher; huh?
- can a finn, or a leplender, or a oshkosher, unda-stend you?
-then, I would say, lenguage is, that we may mis-unda-stend each udda.
O'Neill's business on the web seems very DIY. Go order some of his stuff with this man. And the other day a copy of Hear the Sound of My Feet Walking.. Drown the Sound of My Voice Talking.. was offered on eBay, starting at $15.
Two out of our eight chickens were fox' lunch today. When Gil saw lots of feathers fly on the island she yelled us all out of the house, to find 4 _very well hidden_ and freaked chickens, a heap of brown feathers and half a gutless grey chicken on the Beuvron border, a brown cock having disappeared. Two other chickens were on the other side of the house at the time of the incident; a little shaky, the duck returned after the air had cleared.
Erratic: No External Links
A dense concentration of moments and mood swings informs today. From the plastic bag filled with at least two kilo's of rosé mushrooms which our uphill farming neighbour Ms. Seutin brought us freshly picked this morning, to the amorphous pit of time which tonight sinks me into a Jefferson Airplane, Hendrix, I.K. Bonset and Vito Acconci cocktail of familiar thrill and thrall, via a long lunch time discussion, with G., over a bottle of Tricastin and a load of rosé mushrooms and pasta, on what brought us here, what good it brings us and when things in life turn sour, followed by some hard knocks feed to the I DIE for change discussion and my French collaborative charter... ehm, today is our half year anniversary here. Who could have told today from any other day?
This is good for Paul and myself and anyone else considering re-invention: Vito Acconci at the occasion of his 1978/79 retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, interviewed by Louwrien Wijers for a publication by Jan Brand's Bureau voor Cultuur Extracten, in a close transcription, allowing his voice through:
- OK, SO NOW I KNOW... NOW I KNOW WHERE I HAVE BEEN... NOW LET ME... NOW I DON'T WANT WHERE I AM... TO BE WHERE I HAVE BEEN... AND CERTAINLY I DON'T WANT WHERE I WILL BE... TO... TO BE WHERE I HAVE BEEN... SO YOU ALMOST WANT TO TRY TO RUSH THINGS, YOU KNOW... I MEAN, THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT... BUT IN A WAY, I MEAN, I THINK, IF A RETROSPECTIVE HAS A GOOD EFFECT IT CAN TEND TO... MAYBE NOT COMPLETELY RUSH THINGS, BUT SPEED THINGS ALONG A BIT, IN THE SENSE THAT... WELL, NOW THAT YOU HAVE SOME THINGS UP YOU CAN... YOU CAN AT LEAST SEE IT A LITTLE MORE CLEARLY... SO HOPEFULLY... YOU CAN START TO MAKE SOME, AT LEAST... WELL, AT LEAST IF YOU CAN'T JUMP, YOU CAN AT LEAST WALK QUICKLY...
And Hendrix: Axis, Bold as Love, in 1967.
- AND SO CASTLES MADE OF SAND
MELT INTO THE SEA EVENTUALLY
After some weeks I opened the upstream lock this morning to send some water into the left stream of the Beuvron. We're having plenty since two days.
Paul opens a new month (or rather: closes an old one) on Alamut with Erwin Strauss' How to Start your Own Country. Let me quote a different passage from his:
- A general principle in the world is that there are no two people so close together that their interests are always identical, nor are there any two people so far apart that they don't have some common interest. Thinking of yourself as an independent nation among the nations of the world is a good way to develop realistic patterns of thought.
Finally some cut-and-paste Amazon;
- Customers who bought this book also bought:
Home Workshop Explosives; Uncle Fester
How to Legally Obtain a Second Citizenship and PassportAnd Why You Want to; Adam Starchild
Scram: Relocating Under a New Identity; James S. Martin
The First World War; John Keegan
>+ No Design-Fix for migratory attention
Empower Men Tissues
Scar Tissue. Of anything that's not market mold. First rate, first hurt. > 'Alles van waarde is weerloos'.
'The truth is always late', I shared this morning with Paul. Read it somewhere out there the other day. Wonderfully adequate and poetic. Why is the truth always late? Because we avoid it. We stay with an accepted truth, not recognizing its demise. We mistake familiarity with truth. Change is a puppy born into the lap of truth.
>+ popcultures.com, aka. Sarah Zupko's Cultural Studies Center, one of the roadside hangouts of media crit academia, is a fast expanding and rich environment for media migration and information empowerment searches. And you'll find the 'scholars on the web' homepages of the likes of Mark Poster, John Friske, Judith Butler et al.
Last week-end spent 48 fact finding/work pitch hours in Marseille with chère friend and colleague Francine Zubeil, who took me down to the sea for panisses (chickpea fritters) and beer in the late afternoon, and high up to the Notre Dame de Garde in the wee hours, where the local 'beurs' (second generation North African youth) partied. I was introduced to some artist-friends, with whom web projects were discussed. Now I am getting an agenda up, a manual, a concise usability/collaboration charterin French, biensûr... no kidding. I'm spreading thin a bit. With well received idie.net awaiting corrections and a new upload (on media migration) and dear NQPAOFU hungry for more life's experiences. Things are shifting. Attention is shifting. Comme ça bouge. Finalement.
>+ Chris Burden
Quoted from yesterday's ('overhyping the American mind') link to the Onion: '79 Percent Of Americans Missing The Point Entirely':
- 'If I want to miss the point, that's my own business,' said Ernie Schayr, a Wheeling, WV, auto mechanic. 'If I want to complain about having to pay taxes while at the same time demanding extra police protection for my neighborhood, that's my right as an American. Most people in other countries don't ever get the chance to miss the point, and that's tragic. The East Timorese are so busy fleeing for their lives, they never have the chance to go to the supermarket during the busiest time of the week and complain to the cashier about how long the lines are and ask them why they don't do something about it.'
Local or Global or Antidotal
The mouse-over says: 'antidotes', relax, chill out. After so much burning you need that. So what about some classic blogstyle linking. Some on the information revolution, >+ overhyping the US mind (via >+ Robot Wisdom), and homegrown NL charm and wit and definitive antidotal: >+ Letterror's Pilotmovies (you've read that well!).
I DIE today
Gave all of my attention to > idie.net: Enough Is Enough 1999.
It's official (and secret)
Fall 1999. The new season. Grab your chances. I've never openly admitted this, but NQPAOFU actually is a highly coded newsletter to a-few-very-close-in-the-know. It communicates a desire for change and other secrets and is highly controversial and actually, rather personal. It unveals hidden desires. To the uninitiated, I can only say, read again, read closer, now focus. Gaze. Turn those sentences around and around... a pretty picture might appear... welcome back, welcome back to NQPAOFU, OurNQPAOFU!...
Just-in-time make-over NQPAOFU.
Talking back to the >+ media
Tonight's ± first things first post to the ± Info-Design Café list, where a discussion is building up:
- Conscience repeats itself -- or: what's to become of change, when the people that do it, don't?
I can not believe the rear-view mirrored manifesto. It's not its positioning in 'the' 'media' (Poynor), even when it is only a privileged professional segment of it, it's not the self-congratulatory-yet-mea-culpa tone ('to some extent we are all helping draft a reductive and immeasurably harmful code of public discourse' -- hey, you wish you could), it's not even the proposed out of the blue (chip) Umwertung Aller Werte ('we propose a reversal of priorities in favour of more useful, lasting and democratic forms of communication - a mindshift away from product marketing and towards the exploration and production of a new kind of meaning')...
The pathology of the pamphlet is in its complete denial of choice, and therefor an insult to those people who choose -- here it says: the industry made us do it and look what we've done, in combination with a last-effort-urgency alarmist heroism, largely in praise of designer conscience and power to overthrow a social-political consensus agenda, and ultimately install 'a new kind of meaning'.
Meanwhile, in the real world, alternatives _are_ plenty. Move to the edges and bring that expertise and competence and some skills. These first-things-firsters have access to institutions, media, corporations, means of production, money, support networks, etc. (even when for 'action' traditionally you didn't need such apparatus), yet all that their collective effort brings about, is a yellowed cry in the dark of consumerism, published in their favourite zines.
'A new kind of meaning' is not produced, only the commodities have changed.
(it changed 1964 'cat food, stomach powders, detergent, hair restorer, striped toothpaste, aftershave lotion, beforeshave lotion, slimming diets, fattening diets, deodorants, fizzy water, cigarettes, roll-ons, pull-ons and slip-ons' for 2000 'dog biscuits, designer coffee, diamonds, detergents, hair gel, cigarettes, credit cards, sneakers, butt toners, light beer and heavy-duty recreational vehicles').
It's not the products, stupid, it's the information! Some 'new meaning' enhancing chances: in 6 years the (formerly mass) media have given birth to a network of some 800M-and-counting documents, of which still only a minor percentage is explicitly commercial. This network explodes the possibility space for any kind of cultural interaction, on a local and global, private and public scale, and it is in prominent need of information and communication skills, embedded in streetwise and honest engagement, with an open eye for and back coupling of 'real' issues. The Internet/www is not InfoArcadia, nor has it anything to do with egalitarian or democratic opportunities. It is a real contemporary power structure like all the others. Yet is is open, young, amorphous, shared, and it (still) routes around censorship.
1964 saw the birth of McLuhan's 'Understanding Media'; to call it an 'irony' that, 35 years after, 33 professional communicators have to panic over their (peers') decadence, would be an 'unprecedented' understatement.
Designer Conscience repeats itself
Rear-view mirror on the wall... who's got the cleanest of'm all? I put up these two for further annotation and comparison. 1Q: where's change when the people that do it, don't?
First Things First 2000our peers Jonathan Barnbrook, Nick Bell, Andrew Blauvelt, Hans Bockting, Irma Boom, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Max Bruinsma, Siân Cook, Linda van Deursen, Chris Dixon, William Drenttel, Gert Dumbar, Simon Esterson, Vince Frost, Ken Garland, Milton Glaser, Jessica Helfand, Steven Heller, Andrew Howard, Tibor Kalman (deceased), Jeffery Keedy, Zuzana Licko, Ellen Lupton, Katherine McCoy, Armand Mevis, J. Abbott Miller, Rick Poynor, Lucienne Roberts, Erik Spiekermann, Jan van Toorn, Teal Triggs, Rudy VanderLans, Bob Wilkinson.First Things First 2000
First Things First 1964our fathers/mothers Edward Wright, Geoffrey White, William Slack, Caroline Rawlence, Ian McLaren, Sam Lambert, Ivor Kamlish, Gerald Jones, Bernard Higton, Brian Grimbly, John Garner, Ken Garland, Anthony Froshaug, Robin Fior, Germano Facetti, Ivan Dodd, Harriet Crowder, Anthony Clift, Gerry Cinamon, Robert Chapman, Ray Carpenter, Ken Briggs.
'We, the undersigned, are graphic designers, art directors and visual communicators who have been raised in a world in which the techniques and apparatus of advertising have persistently been presented to us as the most lucrative, effective and desirable use of our talents. Many design teachers and mentors promote this belief; the market rewards it; a tide of books and publications reinforces it.'
'Encouraged in this direction, designers then apply their skill and imagination to sell dog biscuits, designer coffee, diamonds, detergents, hair gel, cigarettes, credit cards, sneakers, butt toners, light beer and heavy-duty recreational vehicles.'
'Commercial work has always paid the bills, but many graphic designers have now let it become, in large measure, what graphic designers do. This, in turn, is how the world perceives design. The profession's time and energy is used up manufacturing demand for things that are inessential at best.'
'Many of us have grown increasingly uncomfortable with this view of design. Designers who devote their efforts primarily to advertising, marketing and brand development are supporting, and implicitly endorsing, a mental environment so saturated with commercial messages that it is changing the very way citizen-consumers speak, think, feel, respond and interact. To some extent we are all helping draft a reductive and immeasurably harmful code of public discourse.'
'There are pursuits more worthy of our problem-solving skills. Unprecedented environmental, social and cultural crises demand our attention. Many cultural interventions, social marketing campaigns, books, magazines, exhibitions, educational tools, TV programmes, films, charitable causes and other information design projects urgently require our expertise and help.'
'We propose a reversal of priorities in favour of more useful, lasting and democratic forms of communication - a mindshift away from product marketing and towards the exploration and production of a new kind of meaning. The scope of debate is shrinking; it must expand. Consumerism is running uncontested; it must be challenged by other perspectives expressed, in part, through the visual languages and resources of design.'
'In 1964, 22 visual communicators signed the original call for our skills to be put to worthwhile use. With the explosive growth of global commercial culture, their message has only grown more urgent. Today, we renew their manifesto in expectation that no more decades will pass before it is taken to heart.'
First Things First 1964
We, the undersigned, are graphic designers, photographers and students who have been brought up in a world in which the techniques and apparatus of advertising have persistently been presented to us as the most lucrative, effective and desirable means of using our talents. We have been bombarded with publications devoted to this belief, applauding the work of those who have flogged their skill and imagination to sell such things as:
cat food, stomach powders, detergent, hair restorer, striped toothpaste, aftershave lotion, beforeshave lotion, slimming diets, fattening diets, deodorants, fizzy water, cigarettes, roll-ons, pull-ons and slip-ons.
By far the greatest effort of those working in the advertising industry are wasted on these trivial purposes, which contribute little or nothing to our national prosperity.
In common with an increasing number of the general public, we have reached a saturation point at which the high pitched scream of consumer selling is no more than sheer noise. We think that there are other things more worth using our skill and experience on. There are signs for streets and buildings, books and periodicals, catalogues, instructional manuals, industrial photography, educational aids, films, television features, scientific and industrial publications and all the other media through which we promote our trade, our education, our culture and our greater awareness of the world.
We do not advocate the abolition of high pressure consumer advertising: this is not feasible. Nor do we want to take any of the fun out of life. But we are proposing a reversal of priorities in favour of the more useful and more lasting forms of communication. We hope that our society will tire of gimmick merchants, status salesmen and hidden persuaders, and that the prior call on our skills will be for worthwhile purposes. With this in mind we propose to share our experience and opinions, and to make them available to colleagues, students and others who may be interested.
All important: ne pas hésiter.
Mission in the making
NQPAOFU writes its own mission in the making. Which goes for Alamut too. This is hardly a no-doubt option. It are in the best sense of the word experiments:
A trial or special observation, made to confirm or disprove something doubtful; esp., one under conditions determined by the experimenter; an act or operation undertaken in order to discover some unknown principle or effect, or to test, establish, or illustrate some suggest or known truth; practical test; proof.
(Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary)
The one-stop weblog? news service (example shows where Robot Wisdom's Jorn Barger taps from), or as a critical review? Then, is it a jumpboard, or a one-stop web digest with attitude, which outlinks all its references? Weblog identity is in choice (trivia threshold), momentum, editorial vision and style, and yes, accessibility, as reflected in its design and in the smart use of hypertext affordances. A weblog is designer information brokerage. You should expect it to excel on most of the above criteria, relative to your personal preferences.
The 'a link a day' Deliverable
Link and Run isn't exactly what makes a great weblog. Webloggers show interests of the pot shot variety. They aim high and low, left and right and miss the moving target in the background. Link compulsion scatters their attention: it is hard to tell any consistency from their content. Going by the links and their presentation, I develop an interest in certain weblogs, which are no love affairs. Some I check twice daily, others only weekly, or less. Of the weblogs that particularly interest me, I use very few links: essentially they are a one-stop shop, which are my Internet/www gauge. Most logs do meta to me. As a result 99% of my bookmarks were not provided through weblogs, but are the result of active searches, peer recommendation and serendipity.
the Lit or the Kid?
From Robot Wisdom's under development >+ Weblog resources FAQ (which could develop to be an interesting document, if he can keep up the spirit and with a little help from his friends) I draw: 'One of the greatest pleasures of reading weblogs is getting to know their editors', which echoes >+ 'Toronto writer' Joe Clark's appreciatory pitch of Alamut: 'In fact, I like alamut so much I would probably like the author.' Some of us are again mixing up the Literature and the Author. Even a personal portal could do without this criterion. Pray may some weblog artists/journalists be perfect anonymous and deliver the hottest content in the connected cottage industry. Radical artifice. Even the personal is highly editable, as was one of the early dog's observations of the Internet. I'm not the dog who I blog. Diversity is key. We are many dogs.
Divided we blog
Obviously, in weblogs divisions should not be primarily along the (eg. eatonweb's) lines of 'journal' or 'commentary', with topical differentiation reaching from 'computer/tech' via 'news' to 'sex/sports', nor can they be measured by link quantities. With the increasing interest in weblog properties, when annotated lists-of-links-to-links proliferate, and >+ surf menus are improving, we would benefit from better meta, a weblog dedicated search engine, or whatever improves our mapping. The next improvement would be the personal bot which 24/7 pushes me all the weblog URLs that publish on my interests.
make that 2
I'm still working on it as you can see. Loud (a privilege of the free-standing mansion) Moodymann, Jazzanova, Roni Size, Stacy Pullen, Stylish, Alabama, Tashinoro Kondo, Matteo+Matos, Stardust, made me lay the foundations (they are on this tape Aart Fastenau mixed for me when we left Amsterdam); Quicksilver Messenger Service's Shady Grove gently carried me through the best text bits and now Kristin Hersh' Hips and Makers steers me into the night... 'what a loon'...
...what is it that makes the NQPAOFU's 'O' in the head such a click-attractor?... (I know, now I get distracted, ...it even appears to me that the Verdana cl spacing makes it look like a d, which turns the NQPAOFU's O into a dick-attractor... which of course to me it is...)
Soon after this early morning's insight in interactivity attractors, I quit. Now, after too much coffee, I'm picking up, Wilco Summerteeth supported (I'm in musical moods these days, something of my old melomania is coming back to me, like other long lost qualities: life's a >+ dissonant song). I'd better take the week-end to fine-tune and finish it. I just posted its URL to Paul, Kristi and Francine. It's a relief to know that it is otherwise private. Like I know of the existence of content in Alamut that is not public (some of it probably not on the server, or scripted unrenderable by Frontier). Not non-existent, more like my unlinked files, that are addressed at particular people. I am too lazy to look into the security and other tech options, but I would prefer to have all (all of my professional and most of the autobiographical) data in a networked hypertext format, like a website, like in HTMLthere to be accessed, browsed and eventually edited into the public domain.
Relative privacy, or counter-paranoiac note: in my last solo gallery installation (Kryptotheka, 1993; pre-web) I had my PIN codes displayed in one of the works, 'The School is Loose', in a prominent black on white 24pt. Stencil font.
1994, in Customized Communities, I successfully invited the inhabitants of this tiny Italian village of >+ Civitella d'Agliano, to send off the keys to their front doors, attached to gas filled balloons, with a printed (anonymous) invitation attached to visit their community. In the preparatory discussions in one of the two local bars, I had heard every known gypsy story, but also shared my astonishment on the acceptance of the progressive commodification of life, at the cost of local identity, in a traditional agricultural (niche) market, of olives, oil and wine.
One of the other artists in the festival installed an email server in the townhall and declared it connected to the global village... My Customized Community project, in its festive and rather hilarious apotheosis (cheering inhabitants waving goodbye to their keys, elegantly drifting SW, in the direction of Rome) far better brought forth globalization issues at stake. And no, burglary did not boom the weeks following. Checking to find out whether or not the Progetto continued, I find that >+ Civitella went in another direction: 'a rural community contributes at the future of telecommunications'.
fog in the valley
It wasn't because of too much coffee or too much local spirit (which can make you go blind with bliss), or too little sleep over yesterday's NQPAOFU make-over, when this morning it took the valley's skies some hours to clear. On our ride to La Pouge R+r had another (after eclipse, lightning and the Sudden Shower) meteorological Eureka, when seeing the clouds crawl up the slope opposite R's school, leaving the hill top in bright light, like on the opposite slope, where the Charolais cattle displayed as silver white blots against a green ground.
underneath the content, the browser
IEeeeek! I need IE for Dummies (it seems built proof for the nutcases among them in the first place) or some sound advice from the design community. I once cried my eyes out over Mosaic and promised never to use Navigator. Now I swear to Gates I will nevva evva click on his insulting browsa again. Why did I just check in the first place? I'm a coward. Unfaithful. Escapist. Can someone tell me why this doc looks like it does in IE? With the unexpected blueish color (on my Mac, that is)? So that maybe I can do something about it. I mean in >+ Opera this site looks just fine; OK?
Did a ± one day make-over for NQP. Low-HTML, all text, improved navigation, faster, better meta tags. Hand madeI am not a 'web designer', I'm an artist and publisher and I lack the latest tech savvy. But I know what I want this site to display and to perform. So what's happening. Primo, I hate 3D, except if huggable. Mediawise I have a history in flat. The new interface is even flatter than the previous one. So to keep your distance to the Literature. Depth is in the linking. Secundo, I implemented a very simple typographical, textual (thus browser searchable) mark-up for anchors (±), internal (>) and external (>+) links. I long hesitated to make small icons, yet searchability won. 'Find >+' will step you along all external links in a document, same for internal and anchors. Terzio, all the main screen navigation contains simple meta. And Quatro, I can fiddle some with colors in the tables. For those days ahead that are in need of some extra shine.
where do you think you are going?
In general, I avoid the interface to provide any functionality which the browser offers, like back buttons or opening new windows.
Now how will this re-design influence the words?
Old Memes Die Hard
The 'word types' and the 'visual types' (credefighting men, between the pragmat-ist and the art-ist) are >+ up against each other once again in an email exchange between Alamut and Peterme. Let me tell you something. Adam Angst years ago wrote in >+ TidBITS that he did not use a word processor anymore but hammered straight into some html editor. Including the necessary code (this was before web WYSIWYG and the >+ volksblog). I think this has become common practice for a lot of people including myself. Then the 'design' process has been straight into the authoring software from scratchwhen one-editor-fitted-all, even more so on day 1 than today. I am a cum laude graphic designer, turned artist, turned curator, turned screen writer, who never met any of the labels' specifications and who is still hammering the words and the visuals straight into >+ PageSpinner. What does this make me, by reputation, or by competence? Not confused or overly hesitant.
It is the 'word types' who found out that the 'visual types' were behaving strangely out of league since 1993. Like with visual types in general, they had not given it much thought from the start, but after a few years of hands-on new media art and design they got really excited over how revolutionary this all was and how things were shifting, including their own labels. I will not bother you with how much information we have out there on the information skills, from all kinds of discussion groups and SIGsif ever I hear the word Tsunami again... Recently the whole spatio-visual-lingo thing exploded again on the >+ InfoDesign Café list (to (un)subscribe, send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org saying: (un)subscribe InfoDesign-Cafe). See already where I'm getting at?
It doesn't take a shitload of critlit to catch my drift. We are the Early Information Age mixmasters with a lot of funk (thxP) on our hands. My art and design is my writing and editing and the other way 'round. This sacred format that I'm addressing through, allows me to shapeshift and to throw it all in the mix and see what the link does to the word and what the words do to the animation and the linking and the calling forth and the popping up and the feeding back and the coming and going around...
(Ceci n'est pas un Mot)
For at least years to come, I consider the word/visual type distinction absolutely inadequate to get to grips with a new craft, a new competence for the narrowcasting artist, who works in an information aggregate, in a new communication field, which has sweet nothing to do with (mass) media publishing conventions or rules or markets, and which is yet wholly to be discovered/developed. >+ Michael Samyn refers to these conditions as the ones we deserved, we had been long ready for, waiting, when they finally came about in the early 90s, and he is right. Technology follows expression. At least he himself belongs to the (admittedly scarce) 'we' which he included in his remark. Why hesitate?
Now whether we talk (information) design, or content development, or authorship or ownership, I oftentimes just don't believe the lack of venture development or dumb refusal to try to get it just right or on the edge for that matter, and not utter banalities, A-Z infinity in all directions. Blam, another pot shot. Believe me, I am not thinking of anyone in particular here. Just about da noise. mycompetence.com (still available, as is myslogan.com) should acknowledge that design, lay-out, staging, performance, and visual (-ly enhanced) telecommunicational 'conversation', in real time, using computers either on the desktop or in the woodwork, finally affords to dump the old memes and grow our own.
Since the dawn of HTML, the writing, publishing and design industry and prime individual activity of artists, screen writers, publishers and designers hasn't ever been the same it was, or is, or will be. Like for Adam Angst, our tools and formats and outlets have changed the way we perform completely. Us one-site-fits-all types do best to stick to our turf and build, and build, and build.
Now if you can't judge all of them >+ blogheading web designers and new media consultants and information architects and post-conceptual neo-materialist artists and code burners by their smart addresses: where else to find new competence's tribulations and speculations? Art under information is ours.
bastion of peace and information