Re: [-empyre-] blogs+signals+performance questions


> "i don't want to think about the audience" because i
> think it is still
> a very important componenent of the form you have
> chosen for this work).

Yes, agreed.  I have to admit that just because I say
I "don't want to think about the audience" doesn't
mean, of course, that I never do.  I often do, even
though I believe the audience is quite small.  My
point is more that I don't want audience determining
what I do- I'm looking for the thing that I can or
want to do.

I am aware that for an artist to say s/he doesn't care
about audience risks sounding a little too
tempermental, Lone Wolfish, genius in the ivory
tower... throw in your own cliche.  I am also very
aware that at the heart of my art practice for the
weblog is something not terribly radical- I am very
image, very painting-oriented.  My work is visual, and
I approach it like a painter.  So given these two
things I don't want to put too much emphasis on my
claiming not to be concerned about audience.  I won't
say that I make the images just for myself and I'm
indifferent to their reception.  But I do try to avoid
making the images too easy to enter.  They can be
entered, and I can often explain how the image has a
subject, or is connected to a subject.  They are
representational.  I think abstraction is highly
representational, and that's the area in which I
choose  to operate.

One thing I haven't mentioned that might be slightly
relevant here is that at the end of each series of
drawings I tend to write an explanation of what that
body of work is about.  It's only on a rare occasion
that I don't.  For the most part those explanations
are for me; I like looking at a series in retrospect
and writing about the subject I was working with, or
the kinds of visual problems and solutions I was
working with in the HTML medium.  But I also know for
a fact, because they've told me, that a few members of
my audience like these explanations, so I have them in
mind when I write them.  For examples see

> anyway, in the radio-dj practice
> as in yours, i think there is a presupposition of a
> source (dj) and receiver (radio-listener)...
> it's natural (and literal) to think of a
> radio-dj->radio-listener
> situation as a signal in the audio,
> patchable/routable sense.  what
> about blogs as a signal?

Yes, you mean in the sense of broadcasting.  I agree
with this idea of a weblog as a form of broadcasting. 
And this easily connects what some hope for in
podcasting.  Hold on to your hats, there's another
topic for a future month on empyre.

Is a photoblog also a kind of broadcasting?

Vincent Romaniello's videoblog
(, were he
posts the short videos about (mostly) Philadelphia
artists that he makes, is a kind of broadcasting, as
well, although his posts are only as frequent as his
video segments are ready.

Over four years ago I wrote about weblogging as a DJ
in the sense of one who mixes.  I wrote about my
friend and Berkeley colleague Lloyd Nebres (the free
radical who for five years
has been teaching summers and working with high school
students at UC Berkeley to use weblogs as a means of
learning scripting and programming, develop writing
skills, and create different sizes of peer
communities.  Lloyd's role is to read his students
weblogs, highlight and link to good writing, compare
and contrast the students' topics- he is one of the
few people I've seen who has truly used a tool like a
weblog to build and sustain community in the true
sense of when we say "building community," and
practice that rarely actually works.  See

> do you [chris+otherbloggers] feel like a
> performer or is the
> blog more like a separate type of distribution for
> you?  it feels like
> performance to me because (i think) the main
> distinction between
> performance and other channels (say, publishing) is
> time and grounding in (and privilege of) time.  

It's both performance and distribution.  Thinking of
it as a performance may sound like a contradiction
given what I've said about not wanting to think too
hard about audience, but I think every public
weblogger is performing: it's public; one adopts or
projects some kind of persona, which is only a slice
of who the weblogger really is; the weblogger has a
tone or attitude, whether intentional or not; and the
weblogger  has some kind of rules or editorial policy
governing what s/he does or doesn't cover.

> you have mentioned bending time
> when it suits you (changing timezones so that your
> work appears
> daily), however your specificity in this act belies
> some loyalty to a
> framerate or rhythm.

Absolutely.  I only bend time when the events of the
day have prevented me from posting during the calendar
day (sometimes I'll post a previous day's drawing just
after midnight, and so manually change the post's date
back a bit) or am posting a drawing at night for the
next day (sometimes I'll post a drawing at, say,
11:30pm, which is for the next day, so I manually
change the post's date forward).
> also, i agree with what chris and tom have mentioned
> about there being
> too little discussion about the work in a
> material(?) sense.

Well, maybe that's asking too much.  It takes time,
effort, and experience.  It seems to me that few
people are willing to really look and see into images;
I often wonder if it's not merely unwillingness but
incapacity.  I don't mean to sound condescending, it's
just something I've observed.  And to be honest, I've
met many artists who also don't really seem able to
see much beyond some fairly narrowly defined and
received types of images.

> i see a very difficult tension present in these
> works between the formal, gridded nature of the
> table (and of print layout in general, to which
> the table is a reference) and
> painting+drawing, in the very lo-res
> gradients+misalignments between cells.

Yes, I am often working with this tension.  I've
written several times in the past (for example: about
how I work hard to bury the grid, or not make it the
most immediate aspect of the image one sees.  And
given the table and its square cells, how can I make
an image that seems painterly, has space, has a
figure, uses line, and feels integrated?  

There is also another kind of tension, which is
compositional- how to put into an image some kind of
tension- whether through gradients, misalignments,
shadows, etc.?


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