Balkan Layers: Macedonian Diary (2001)

Balkan Layers: Macedonian Diary is an interactive Web project based on impressions of Macedonia during the Fall and Winter of 1998-1999. Images and texts are juxtaposed layering information and creating links between the social, political and the personal.

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Balkan Layers: Macedonian Diary is an interactive Web project based on my impressions of Macedonia during the Fall and Winter of 1998-1999 while I was in Skopje on a Senior Fulbright grant.

I have chosen to create digital images because they can be layered in a way that reflects the layers of changing culture, society, history, geology and politics. The information (images and narrative) is organized in parallel segments that can be viewed in any order - using the branching structure of data. This gives impressions of the whole experience rather than telling a linear story.

The Internet is a perfect forum in which to present this project. The diary-like impressions are presented in an intimate and personal format. The interactive experience, as with most web sites will often be solitary and private. At the same time, the scope of the project will have a global reach because of its topical subject matter and location on the Internet. The BORDERLESS nature of the Internet is here used to express content about an area whose geographic borders have always been in flux. Also, the dynamic nature of the Web allows for evolution and reinvention -- a Web project is, by its nature, always a work in progress mutating and evolving in response to the world around.

The design is simple and the navigation is relatively easy. I have chosen not to use plugins and I have made a deliberate effort to keep files small and reduce visual noise. While I was in Macedonia I gained a new appreciation for the Internet access that we have in America. Most people of the world do not have Internet connections and computers. Those that do have access often have limited and expensive access and poor connections. For example, in Macedonia people pay by the pulse and by the minute. To make the work more accessible I have streamlined my use of large files.

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