RE: [-empyre-] ~~NMR

Sorry I've been absent so long. We had quite a scare, but our most recent talks with doctors have been much more positive.

At 1:12 AM -0800 14/1/04, Jim Andrews wrote:
Should I expect to see in the history books that 'x did a very nice Flash
piece'? Or 'y did a very nice hypertext.' Or 'z did a very nice Shockwave
piece.' Or 'q wrote some very nice email poems.' Or 't did a very nice

Or does it mean something else to be deeply innovative in new media? This is
the sort of fussy question I am trying to get at.

I think a short answer to your initial question would be "yes." For example, Patchwork Girl is usually considered part of hypertext art's history - not because of technical novelty (Michael Joyce or Deena Larsen probably lays claim to the "first x", where x == something technical, that so much peppers new media history) but rather because of the possibilities it demonstrated for the form.

But if I understand your question correctly, I also think you have a good point. Most new media that will make the history books will probably innovate at the level of the system - not simply employ a system already widely-used by artists in the way it is normally used. This is both because innovating at both levels (or, really, erasing the distinction between the levels) makes more possible and because of our sometimes-unfortunate tendency to focus on "firsts" when we write history.

Somewhere on your NMR web site I read that the texts and CD in the NMR
express ideas that came into the public sphere with the World Wide Web.

If the NMR is a kind of history of the digital paradigms of communication up
to the WWW, then will the history of the WWW as we currently know it be
phrased in terms of a similar emphasis on innovation in the forms or
paradigms of communication, as opposed to basically expressions of content
within pre-defined forms?

I am asking, not pronouncing.

I think Nick and I were gesturing at something a bit less ambitious there. What I understood us to mean (Nick, please feel free to jump in with your own interpretation) is that the Web's explosive popularity brought to the wider public the combination of the digital computer, networking, "hypermedia," and other elements of new media (as we define it) that had begun developing around WWII. Not that the Web is some end point of evolution, but rather that it went further than the home computer era or early video game consoles in bringing new media into our everyday lives.

This is the sort of question I was trying to phrase in asking 'How do you
conceive of the role of technological innovation in
computing-based new media?'

Definitely a question worth pursuing, from many disciplinary perspectives. I wonder if anyone else on the list wants to weigh in with last minute thoughts?


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