[-empyre-] Interactive Video for the Web - Have you thought of a story?
Thanks to Jim Andrews for the welcome and to all empyre associates for
hosting these conversations....
" ' Have you thought of a story?' I was asked each morning, and each
morning I was forced to reply with a mortifying negative."
---- quote from Mary Shelley, Introduction to 1831 edition of Frankenstein.
This quote comes to mind as I try to formulate some ways to approach the
empyre topic of Interactive Video for the Web. As a start, I am thinking
about how a compelling horror story (such as Frankenstein) has yet to be
produced as an interactive video.
Some might disagree, insisting that video streams embedded in
hyperlink-encrusted pages of msnbc.com or perhaps the U.S. military news
channel are monstrously horrifying enough. Yet, neither streaming news
videos nor (say, at the opposite end of the cinematic spectrum) motion
graphic visualizations of artificial life, generative software, or
"creative code" ever deal with re-animating the dead. Within the cocoon of
interactivity we have never found ourselves wondering, via the
performativity of the interface/code, if the dead are staying dead. In
other words, we have not developed forms that viscerally test the liminal
spaces of subjectivity.
A boundary region, with the necessary markers, can also be an
interface. So, in experiencing interfaces integrated into something we
label "interactive video", do we ever manage to place ourselves at the edge
of something otherwise unimaginable, face-to-face with ((animate matter))
that is radically other?
Okay. Maybe I should name some names. I am making sketchy associations,
here, because I know that my question is clumsily posed. Here are 4 names,
among others I could mention, whose work I would position in relation to
interactive video and to my questions:
-- Alan Sondheim, whose continually evolving texts on discussion lists
include hyperlinks to parallel images and videos with an overall cumulative
effect (over time) that is like being startled in slow-motiion. I am
tempted to say that his collected works comprise one ongoing extended work
of interactive cinema.
-- Graham Harwood, whose work doesn't approach the boundary (the zone of
interface where, as Sandy Stone has said, "agency changes form") so much as
his work starts there and radiates outward from it. (Some of his work can
be found at http://www.scotoma.org Unfortunately the work, "Rehearsal of
Memory", is only available as a cdrom.)
-- Amy Alexander, whose v-jay posturing and kookiness does not hide an
obsessive drive to tear off every layer of interface as if each one was a
mask hiding something disturbing and unsettling beneath it. For example,
try her funny and strange exorcist.exe at http://deprogramming.us/
-- Zoe Beloff, who's web presence is descriptive of her performance and
cdrom works - her projects frame the experience of stereoscopic interactive
videos as philosophical toys... diagetic worlds where we witness, in
miniature, our illusions (optical and otherwise) externalized and
collectively projected/hallucinated outside our fragile-bounded
selves. Zoe's website is http://www.zoebeloff.com/
My own work has been described very well by Jim.
My most recent work incorporates video streams from the C-SPAN.org website,
using (among other components) lyrics and music of karaoke songs as methods
for (1) interpreting and talking/singing back to the one-way flow of cspan
videos, (2) gaining awareness and understanding of public policy-making and
ritualistic governmental process while practicing the first method, and (3)
experimenting with forms of cinematic experience made possible by the
technical limitations of network processes.
The C-SPAN x 4 project can be accessed at
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