R.P. So Diane often when we talk about what we have done and and are trying to do it seems like we talk about things in terms of medium and technology instead of the content; or is the content of the our work only medium-based. Are there links that go a bit deeper?
D.C. I suppose NEW media foregrounds itself as a peculiar set of mediums by proposing (in its very name) that it has NOT been done before and that it therefore needs much consideration. I think this assumption is faulty. Hypertext has always been possible with the mind. We follow paths as we assemble our own realities. The sky is never just the sky: it leads to some other thought or memory (whether textual or imagic) and it may lead to an action in exactly the same way as does a hotlink in an electronic text. So, I do not think that NEW media is so much something unprecedented, but a foregrounding of what has always been. Nevertheless, we have been exploring "the process of collaboration between ourselves as web authors", among other things. But again, by remembering that we are in this project, authors/artists/text-makers who work on the Net, we have, perhaps pigeon-holed ourselves somewhat.
R.P. Well yes and no. There are lots of different ways to respond to media, and some people work with a medium as a fundamental part of what they do, for others it's just a language with which to work. What is different about the sort of thing we do is that the language of NEW media is still being defined to some extent, so we don't know which boundaries to push in terms of addressing the media itself. I'm just thinking that if maybe we stopped thinking about media and work with the ideas outside of medium it could result in something quite different.
D.C. Sure, working with ideas outside our medium could be very interesting. I love the notion of media, though, so I can't guarantee that I won't occasionally foreground the various vehicles we use to transport ideas!
R.P. Well, often visual artists make art by pushing the boundaries of their media: this is one of the most important things about the modernist project. Artists still often use is approach, in both visual arts and media arts. A good example in media arts is www.jodi.org. It about the web and is about by pushing the edges of what a website is. I've got also of problems with a media-driven approach to making art though. It reduces the process to only the material. But with that said, it's also part of my process, eg a lot things I do technically could be done more easily in either netscape 4 or shockwave, but I prefer to put restrictions on what I'm doing and try to work within those boundaries and push what that technology can do. The other thing I do is try to do more with less. This is often subconscious eg with those last video pieces, as part of the process of resolving them, I started work with less bits of the footage and started playing the sequence and position etc.
D.C. I suppose I'm still exploring the medium as a text-maker. I see being a text-maker (in the medium of hypertext or website) as quite different to the process of being a writer. Obviously they inter-relate, as also do writing and text-production entwine with the process of making art. I don't yet have the technical resources to push the boundaries of this medium/set of mediums because I don't know enough about it. I feel as though my writing has always been frustrated with the medium of words (a famous Patrick White complaint). Perhaps all artist become frustrated with their media? Do dreamers yearn for something else in which to dream?
R.P. What I mean is the that our language is not define. Where are the limits of it ?
D.C. Okay, maybe I don't want to go as far as www.jodi.org in pushing the entire website as an entity, but I do want to bring the notion of language (text/words/images) to the foreground in my writing/authoring. Your approach is complimentary in that you also play with your medium, but I've never thought of us as simply media based. More like authors whose works circulate in and around the notion of language. That's what I thought you were doing with the squares in travels towards: juxtaposing the word asterisk with the symbol of a square and the "signifying" letters with empty spaces which might have their meanings supplied by readers.
R.P. I do play with medium, but it's often not about finding the boundaries, it's about find other ways of doing things that are more simple and often based on emotions. I know this doesn't quite make sense. The squares were a technical mishap which can be really nice, if you let it happen and control it, but I hadn't. The process of juxtaposition etc that you are talking about is maybe a bit to clever for me -:)
D.C. No, it's because I was educated, at first, to undertake "close readings" of the texts I read. And then to build up from there, I suppose. So the squares were wonderful for me. But that's the other exciting thing about collaborating: two or more perceptions become entangled and almost electric. Something I'd have never thought of comes from you and vice versa. And/or those amazingly similar resonances.
To go back to your question and my first point: I think all media can be insignificant. We could present our ideas as an actual play, as a MOO, as a film, as a soundtrack or as a series of film stills. So, no I don't think our work is simply medium based, even though I love the medium we've chosen to work in.
R.P. I've talked a few times about doing a video piece, the linear nature of some of past work would lend it self well to video.
D.C. Imaginative Reading is almost completely linear. A video piece would be good based on that. It might also be interesting to rework it in a less linear way and take it to some new conceptual spaces. It would evolve into a new piece with a different title.
R.P. Hmm I was actually thinking about making a short video about the making of Blue what do you think ? Or Seabed?
D.C. Good idea. I thought you meant just reworking a piece in a slightly diffent medium. Yep, Blue could work well. I'm reworking the older Blue stuff for a piece about the Millennium for Riding the Meridian. It's just becoming a poem about time. The images aren't used in the final Blue, but it might become an interesting spin off. I've only had minimal experience with video when Sid did it at Uni. Do you want any words written?
R.P. I'll look forward to seeing it. With the video stuff, I actually often use video editing software with what we are doing. That's how a lot of the gif animations are maybe. Sort of what I'm thinking about is a linear moving, collage. Most like screen grabs. The time poem could be a interesting starting point. For another piece. Those last two video pieces are lot about time.
Also I was just thinking about your comment that what was interesting in Imaginative Reading was what I did with text. Maybe what I did with text and type was to make it move? animated it, not so much adding visual images to it like I've been trying to do. What do you think ? for me these two things are quite different process and ways of thinking
D.C. Yes, certainly Imaginative Reading and Surface were very much based on your treatment of the text as both text and image. You brought to the surface an array of signifying possibilities surrounding the words. Those possibilities were always there, but by pushing them forward, you made the texts shimmer. I love the way you refuse to be literal with the colours I use in my writing. This demonstrates ideas about the ways in which we sort through our understandings of what a word is NOT saying as part of the process by which we decide what it might be saying. Playing with the text also foregrounded the NEWness of textual presentation able to be made with new media, but it was not the NEWness that was important for me. Literature has always leapt about the page in my mind: it has always inspired fires and waterfalls, sound and smell. That is why I've always loved it.
R.P. Isn't it almost like an expansion of the text, into a image. So the text evokes images and the actual image of the text evokes something else again ? But it also seems to be something to do with design and type design and the history of that ?
D.C. Well, yes, but being able to display that history from within one new medium, while constantly referring back to books as if they were definitely a thing of the past: I liked that.
R.P. I'm not sure how we arrived at this point. I don't see books as a thing of the past. I see what we do as being like book making, it would be interesting to make a book some time. But what it's doing is a lot like a children's book in that it's about image and words. The other thing is, I think of often in terms of my process as being quite like what monks used to do in manuscripts and process of building and copying image and text. I suppose what I'm try to get at is that I think that what we are doing is maybe not that new, and if we see it as 'new' we are fooling ourselves.
D.C. Well, it's a most postmodern thing to upset notions of new/old, past/future original/copy. I just thought that Imaginative Reading succeeded in doing that. There is nothing new under the sun. Solomon wrote that in around 950 BC. I do see what you do as an amazing process of endless reworking. My writing has always been like that as well. Editing, editing, editing, shifting snippets of work from here to there. Reworking pieces. If I ever write a novel, it will all appear again.
R.P. I do rework things, and maybe that is one of the things I try to do with the communication about my process in the collaboration. It is more like a process of editing, and various juxtapositions around an idea. Which for me is like what I do in a design process. One point I wanted to work towards is where the user becomes part of this re-working. Brian Eno talked about the fact that our children will think that it's funny we listen to music that was the same each time it played.