[-empyre-] re:beauty on/of the web

hello empyreans,

The space of net art seems to be a forest, a deepening pool, a semipermeable
membrane, a translucent skin.  Portals between fluid states seem like
lattices of meaning, subsumed beneath incomprehensible surfaces, surfaces
that aren't even really there except to the machines:  we can only glimpse
edges.  At the edges are confusing shapes, patterns, apparitions:  to quote
Baudelaire out of context a bit, the net becomes what nature seemed then, in
the late hours of the nineteenth century, "a temple in which living pillars
sometimes let slip familiar gestures ¹homme y passe à traverse des forêts de
symbols/ Qui l¹observent avec des regards familiers².
(Les Fleurs du Mal)

I was particularly struck by Ollivier's remark about the machines, the
screens needing us as their skins, us as their bodies, in fact; we see for
them, we feel through them, they mirror back or represent us; they are the
living (screens) whose gestures are so alien and at the same so familiar.

is the net a forest of symbols?  is it a series of ironic discontinuous
moments in artful arrays?  is not each night on the web a traversing of a
reflective screen of one's own mind and heart?  And yet, not completely
reflective:  therein is the feeling of something imminent, some meaning
beyond one's own ken, beyond the contours of face and skin, beyond the

so the beauty of the web:  its kind of beauty a series of ephemeral layers
of possible representations, moving continuously through thresholds like the
layered portals deeper and deeper inside an Egyptian temple like, for
example Luxor:  at the end of which, no god, just another doorway to another
outside, to a palm at the end of the mind (remembering Wallace Stevens). a
sublime.net, to quote Melinda.

thanks for the chance to muse near midnight on the other side of the pacific
from new south wales.

Christina McPhee

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