net art, video, performance

Annie Abrahams

wishes / voeux – hypertext now

wishes-600px-aabrahams

Yesterday Oliwia Blawat included my piece wishes / voeux from 1999 in Ipertestualmente.org her space for hypertext based art. (thanks Oliwia)
She writes on her research :  In my opinion hypertext is a complex structure built from nodes connected by hyperlinks that can be both textual and visual.It is a basic element of www and also of net art works (but not all of them). Hypertext consists in multiple number of links, it is only a framework that can exist both with data and without. The biggest problem of hypertext is that in the presence of complicated structure the content becomes less important and sometimes hypertext is difficult to read because the frame takes over data.

 

“The frame takes over the data?” and content becomes less important? Maybe that’s the way you can look at it now but at the time all was data, and all was content. It was often exactly the way content and form intertwined that made a lot of us interested in creating hypertext. (I remember for instance having the impression that I could finally experiment with representing “thought”.)
Also in new browsers some content became simply invisible  : onmouseover=”self.status=’to start over again without continually facing the humiliations of prejudice’; return true”,  ‘popups’ are often not allowed and hypertext on cellphones simply isn’t ergonomic. It’s not the same anymore. In 1999 we thought about human beings on the other side of the network, now we think in terms of information, likes and data flows.

In Dec. 2009 in Artistic Textual and Performative Paths in New Media Correlations: An Interview with Annie Abrahams by Evelin Stermitz, published in Hz #14, I talked about my first experiment in collectif writing like this :

 This first collective writing project was a collection of wishes, that I proposed to “stocker, déposer, entreposer, deposit, lodge, gardienage, mise en forme, entretien, surveillance, keeping, conservation, maintenance, caring, storage, stock, shaping”. Some of these wishes were chosen to be html-ized either by me or by other volunteering net artists like [anachroma], Takuji Kogo, Tiia Johannson, Christophe Desgouttes, Elise Lefevre, Ted Warnel, Mildred Pierce or Tamara Lai. As html-izing at the time was writing code, this htm-lizing was the second writing layer of the project. A third existed in the possibility to write a personal email, unseen by the others, to an unknown wishing person.

wishesfr
Detail of the complete collection of wishes / voeux, presented as a digital print 148cm x 148 cm in Training for a Better World, exposition CRAC LR, Sète. 28/10/2011 – 01/01/2012.

Filed under: Collective writing, Net art, Of interest, , , , ,

Not Texts.

earthquake

The Age of Earthquakes – A guide to the Extreme Present by Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist “imitates” McLuhan’s approach in The Medium is the Massage and was much criticized because precisely it is a book, that looks back instead of forward – David L. Ulin L.A.Times, and because it’s not serious writing. M.H. Miller goes as far as saying that the authors have no actual skills in his Artnews article called Disaster Writing: New Book By Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist Wreaks Havoc on Original Thought. This resonates with a lot of reactions to my online collaborative writing experiments started in 1999. “The results are not texts.” people said and still say.

Shame.

I started working online in 1996 because I thought that by using hypertext I could come closer to showing something about what was going on in my brain than by using anything else. My brain isn’t functioning in a linear way, if I don’t constrain it to do so. I loved the concept of the network, of the simultaneously existing parts, the multiple pathways inside, the way I could simulate and imagine a thought hopping through it without controlling where it went. This was new at the time, but we quickly grew accustomed to using the internet in our daily internet lives and aren’t even aware anymore of it’s original power. But in the mean time I saw the appreciation of the lingering mind changing and this book is a voice for its complex character.

But why do I like it as a book? It historizes what otherwise would stay ephemeral – a profile through a possible multiple voice. And of course it remembers me of my own book from estranger to e-stranger – living in between languages, that is constructed in a similar way.

To better understand what the resulting texts of my collaborative online writing experiments “do” I started reading them aloud and using them in performances. Maybe, Martina and I, we could use The Age of Earthquakes as the basic text for one of our upcoming besides, performances.

Filed under: Collective writing, , , , ,

Upcoming

* 18/06 2017 11h. Talk Networked performance art and engagement - What is and Why Agency Art? Internet, Arte y Compromiso, Centre Culturel Puertas de Castilla (Murcia).
* 19/06 2017 20h30. Une pratique du texte numérique qui dévoile. Invitation Yan Rucar, Centre culturel international de Cerisy-la-Salle.
* 21/07 10PM Performance Ours Lingages, ELO 2017, Mosteiro de São Bento da Vitória, Porto.

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