. community —

table-top video games gone awry

Dear Mark,

Remember how you asked me to take a look at "www.jodi.org" and let
you know what I thought of it? Here it is:

You go in there and a black screen with dense lines of
indecipherable, red script comes up. The lines are rhythmically backlit
in a lighter red, the entire screen flashing like a neon sign. I haven't
the slightest idea what it might mean, or if it means, but it's very
pretty and decorative - in a good way. Like Japanese enamelled boxes are
decorative, at least to someone who gawks at them without much
knowledge of their context (me). From there I somehow get into a series
of screens that are equally cryptic, pretty-to-gawk-at graphic surfaces.
I am greatly relieved at the absence of any apparent subject matter or
critical content; as well as at the absence of text. Although they're
composed of letters and even words, I look at them as pictures. Some of
them look like early table-top video games gone awry or like a
bookmakers stat screens during EMP or like a confused screen saver.
Some are reminiscent of images that German artist Volker Hildebrandt sent
out via BTX in the eighties. His pictures are rooted in a discourse on
painting, whereas jodi's screens seem to reflect the formal history
of digitized text. I would like to think that what they're
doing to the screen layout is analogous to what Name June Paik did to the
TV image.

The site is fairly big and complex enough for me to loose interest after
a while. There are parts to it that are a lot less exciting,
especially when it gets more dialogic and tries to engage me
in some real or make-believe (I don't know as I don't have the patience
to find out) conference with people who I am neither acquainted with nor
have any reason to want to find out anything about. Or when some stiltedly
designed page offers me some audio blips. In those cases I prefer to remain
happily ignorant and click back to the beginning.

So, if I had to criticize this Web site, I would say….but then I really
don't have to criticize it. It's truly a very pleasant place to visit.

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