Several years ago I was on a jury for a Networked art
While sifting through endless days of net.art sites I came
across jimpunk's "nowar.nogame.org" . How refreshing to sit
back, feel out of control and to be driven along by the
browser. Somewhere in the midst of the work was a section
where the Twin Towers.. ( the square NYC World Trade Towers
variety not the beautiful circular Petronas Towers in KL )
made from empty pop-up grey vertically rectangular browser
windows on a plain grey horizontal background, appeared.
Then with a strike of thunderous sound, one by one they fell
down.. or in more technical terms compacted towards the
bottom of the screen.
A short, powerful, simple sequence. Beautiful I thought.
Fantastic use of pop-ups. jimpunk goes on my top 10
favourite artists list. I put a link to it on my web site
entitled 'best twin towers at jimpunk". The net equivalent
perhaps to Sean Penn's moving September 11 short film on
death and transformation when the grief and denial of an
elderly man (Ernest Borgnine) is healed when light streams
into his dark apartment as the Twin Towers collapse.
Funnily enough the work didn't make it into the net art
show, as I discovered the other juror had completely
opposite aesthetic sense to myself , and didn't share my
enthusiasm for jimpunk's work, nor I for the works he liked.
After much negotiation we settled for works we both though
were good rather than ones we individually loved [ah the
joys of the jury process].
I have wanted to view this fragment of work again, and to
show it in lectures, however I was never able to find it. I
thought perhaps it was an Easter egg, a little gift for the
adventurous user hidden within the site, and it was just
eluding me. However recently jimpunk has told me the
sequence I recall didn't ever exist.
I dont quiet believe him - but nowar.nogame.org
now so I can't check
for myself. He directed me to 9/11 Memorial, which has a
similar use of pop-ups. But the towers are stable, the back
ground is animated and they just disappear rather than
collapse. It is much more formal, and to my mind a less
powerful work than the apparently non-existent one I recall.
So perhaps I was the only recipient of that random
combination of windows that became such a potent artwork in
my memory. Perhaps it was the optical hallucinatory affect
of massively moving pop-ups. Perhaps it illustrates
networked art is a truly individual experience. Perhaps it
was an illusion - the art equivalent of false memory
syndrome - created by mediated tower terror pattern
recognition. The only certainty is that the reality of
memory bears no relation to truth or falsity.
9/11 memorial REMEMBERhttp://www.jimpunk.com/NYC/wtc/
Dr Melinda Rackham
artist | curator | producerwww.subtle.net/empyre
-empyre- media forum