It’s probably time to talk about what is media and what is writing—I assume everyone can agree on the “new” part. These things are interesting, but are they media? I don’t think it’s adequate to define “website” as a medium any more than it is to define “paper” that way. Not to be precociously cantankerous, but I always thought a medium was an agreed upon form (and forum, I guess) for expression and discourse. I think the “agreed upon” aspect is the most critical; I view a medium as a contract between speaker an audience. It’s a wonderful thing, as it allows us to take a lot of parameters for granted. This frees up our brain’s processing power for greater degrees of complexity, abstraction or imagination. Now of course there’s merit and genius in the bending and blending of once-discrete media, but when it’s done well, it’s done in such a way as to provide security with its dissonance. Both sets of rules apply, I guess.
I’m not sying there isn’t value in these pieces, I just don’t know if they’re all media. It just seems to me that a new medium isn’t a medium until it’s, well, a little bit old.
“….modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.”
The Saddest Thing, Redux A good stand-alone strip.
Meeting Nice Pete This storyline introduces the character of Nice Pete, killer. I reccomend you proceed forward from this strip for some time. Read the alt text too.
Achewood is often compared to Peanuts for its blend of mirth and sadness, but I never found Peanuts that funny, whereas I think Achewood is the single best comedic work ever.
What’s also immensely cool about Achewood is that it’s Onstad’s full time job. He makes a living selling T-shirts and shot glasses to people who want to be associated with his characters. This was not a way a fellow could feed his family 10 years ago.
The lesser known site is Ian Spiro’s hardtoremember.org. Ian edited the same magazine where Onstad once hung his hat and where I now toil. Unlike me, Ian is a computer genius who has spurned employment with Microsoft and Google in order to become the freest lance programmer I’ve ever encountered.
Interest Graphs. This used to be an interactive utility wherein you could create the sort of thing Ian displays here, plotting your interests against time, summing up your life for strangers in a cool and calculated way. For whatever reason, Ian disabled that. Which is a shame, because I think he can make a lot of money here. All of Web 2.0 thrives on the vanity of users wanting new ways to define themselves using the tools of others (“Which Redwall character are you? Take the quiz!”).
WeddingTowne.com. For this project, Ian wrote a script that harvested pages of the form bobbyandcarol.com or jonathanandtim.com or thorandbathshebah.com. Overwhelmingly, these were pages promoting the weddings and/or the firm but still fiery bonds between the two people who have to chose to immortalize their love by concatenating their names in a URL. These pages are then loaded into a frame within WeddingTowne, which is itself a HotOrNot style tool that allows the viewer to give a simple, binary thumbs up or thumbs down. Users can also view the top- and bottom-ranked pages. I think the earth-shattering implications of what Ian has done here are very obvious.
A dancing man.
Dlog. This is the medium for my 300-word work. Also, it is the real deal. I’ll talk more about it in class, but basically, it records writing as a process and not just a finished document. Essentially, you’re looking over the typist’s shoulder. It has a clever algorithm for compressing time but still leaving a very real sense of hesitation when it occurs. For a time/space/word junkie like myself, this opens a lot of possibilities. Working in these conditions also raises a lot of anxieties.
Also, it's pronounced dee-log. It doesn't want to be a blog no how.