Required Reading: One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age: Digging through the Geocities Torrent by Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied
A new blog by artists Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied, One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age: Digging through the Geocities Torrent is an inventory of one terabyte of pages from the now defunct Geocities, proved by the Archive Team.
The Time Machine in alphabetical order is a complete rendition of the 1960's film version of HG Wells Novella re-edited by us into alphabetical order from beginning to end. In doing so, we attempt to perform a kind of time travel on the movie's original time line through the use of a system of classification.
We consider this experiment as using what we have decided to call 'a constrained editing technique' in light of the literary artistic movement Oulipo who would make works through the use of constrained writing techniques.-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT
At this point in time, it is easy to admit that we are living in a state of "etherialization." The primary characteristics of this state, as recognized by Arnold Toynbee, were that "cultures that remain static and uncreative in the human sphere often promote ingenious technical adaptations and inventions, whereas more creative cultures transmute their energies into higher and more refined forms […] their technical apparatus becomes progressively dematerialized." 1 The evidence of this is with us, simultaneously everywhere and nowhere, in the form of the internet, and also in the proliferation of increasingly miniaturized multi-purpose devices with a decreasing number of moving parts. From iPods to Oracle Database, internal organization becomes gradually more complex as the external, tangible and even visible becomes more superfluous, more symbolic than purely functional.
The Internet and the concurrent reign of digitalization are, however, just symptoms of etherialization - if particularly infectious ones - and not necessarily the driving engine of this state of affairs. The objectives of modern warfare, for example, are achieved by launching successful "psy-ops" campaigns or "p.r. offensives" which gain the international community's sympathies via successful transmission of images and sounds. Destruction of physical sites and human bodies is as cruelly present as ever, yet non-combatants' parsing of "etherealized" media imagery is no longer a sideshow to the "main" objective of laying waste to enemy infrastructure. Even terrorism, often used as a substitute term for asymmetrical warfare using "low-tech" improvisational means, regains a "symmetrical" standing here by utilizing the most high-tech information relays to accomplish its own aims: tactically, it succeeds not only because of its jolting suddenness, but because terrorists "...[schedule] their bomb blasts on time to catch the evening news…the explosion only exists because it is simultaneously coupled to a multimedia explosion." 2
Maybe we're crazy but we think there can be a literary that's loved and powerful. We want a magazine that's read by poetry fans, the rock culture, the Hari Krishnas, the Dodgers. We think it can be done, and that's what we're aiming at.
I have this dream where writers are mobbed everywhere they go, like rock stars and actors. A predilection? You never know. People like Patti Smith are subtly forcing their audiences to become literate, introducing them to Rimbaud, Breton, Burroughs and others. Poetry sales are higher than they've been in fifteen years. In Paris ten year old boys clutching well worn copies of Apollonaire's ALCOOLS put their hands over their mouths in amazement before paintings by Renoir and Monet. Bruce Lee movies close in three days. This could happen here.
Let us introduce ourselves. We're not fifty year old patrons of the arts. We're young punks just like you, and just because Kenneth Rexroth's got a name in some crowds doesn't mean a wink's gonna get his rickety old crap in here. He comes through the back door like everyone else.
- Dennis Cooper, 1978. Excerpt the introduction to Little Caesar #1
We may assume that a time will come when that which I am about to describe will name itself—but for now: 'Computational periodics' is a propositional and tentative term which may help to designate a new unified field for a heterodimensional art; a field whose special dimension is time. An art which is temporal, as music itself; being, that is, spatio-temporal. An art whose time has come because of computer technology and an art which could not exist before the computer. Even though this art will be found in the notebooks of Leonardo and has been in the collective imagination, like the flying-machine, since his epoch it was a technological impossibility until the development of computer graphics.
Rhythm, meter, frequency, tonality and intensity are the periodic parameters of music. There is a similar group of parameters that set forth a picture domain as valid and fertile as the counterpoised domain of sound. This visual domain is defined by parameters which are also periodic. 'Computational periodics' then is a new term which is needed to identify and distinguish this multidimensional art for eye and ear that resides exclusively within computer technology. For notwithstanding man's historic efforts to bridge the two worlds of music and art through dance and theatre, the computer is his first instrument that can integrate and manipulate image and sound in a way that is as valid for visual, as it is for aural, perception.
-- EXCERPT FROM "COMPUTATIONAL PERIODICS" BY JOHN WHITNEY