[-empyre-] -empyre- in 2002- a trip down memory lane

Renate Terese Ferro rferro at cornell.edu
Sat Feb 3 06:01:37 AEDT 2018

Hello all, 
I hope you will take some time away to post a few thoughts.

Is a listserv the most efficient way in 2018 for a group of over 2000 artists, media theorists, coders, technologists, curators and others to discuss issues evolving from emerging issues in art and technology or is the listserv still working for us?  As we head into our new era beginning next month, we usher in our first Editorial Board of twelve diverse artists and scholars working in the field.  The Board has been mined from a diverse set of past participants and moderators. The group will be revolving and we will invite any –empyrean- who is willing to put into the time to consider working for the Editorial Board. 

I thought it might be interesting to take a trip down memory lane and write about some of the inspirations I have garnered from Melinda Rackham that were reflected in her research and the PHD she produced while at College of Fine Arts in Australia at the University of New South Wales. Generated as an experimental group of only fifty artists, poets, video artists, blog writers, technicians, curators and more, Melinda imagined a space where participants could write in ordinary language.  At the time, there were online virtual communities that were raging with competition and she imagined an equitable space.  Interestingly it was NEVER intended to be an academic forum.  She also wanted a space where artists were welcomed to converse and share their experiences and projects.  She envisioned a wide platform where everyone would have an equal voice and feel free and unencumbered to share ideas. 

The technology of the list-serve is an interesting one I think.  Back 2002 social media
certainly was not as ubiquitous at it is now.  In fact, many of us recall the old dial-up interfaces and slow speeds that were so characteristic of the internet at that time. Most users spent an average of only 40 minutes on the internet the market’s share of internet usage was on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer which had 95% of the market share.

Multi-authored blogs were not very prevalent. In 2003 Second Life was introduced and Facebook was launched in 2004.  Over the years our moderating team
has often discussed the efficacy of –empyre- as a blog or perhaps another forum rather than a list serv but all have agreed in the past that the archival history of –empyre- and its moderated and curated monthly themes were still preferred.

Hoping that a few of you will take the time to share your own thoughts about the usefulness of our format over the past eighteen years.  Perhaps you might envision another virtual space that –empyre- could live within?

More on this.  A reminder that Ana Valdes will be joining us next week as a formal weekly guest.  My fourteen students at Cornell University who are doing research on online listserv’s, forums, and other online virtual spaces will join us intermittently throughout the month as well sharing some of their research but also their ideas on the future of online communication forums.   Hope all of you will post a few times this month and join in on this month of looking both back in time and the future. 

Many thanks. 

Renate Ferro
Visiting Associate Professor
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Art
Tjaden Hall 306
rferro at cornell.edu
    empyre forum
    empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au

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