Jim Andrews
Since the beginning
Works in Victoria Canada

Jim Andrews does http://vispo.com . He is a poet-programmer and audio guy. His work explores the new media possibilities of poetry, and seeks to synthesize the poetical with other arts and media.
Discussions (847) Opportunities (2) Events (14) Jobs (0)


Tue Jun 15, 2010 00:00 - Tue Jun 15, 2010


Inspired by netpoetic.com, which is a group blog on 'electronic literature',
I recently started up a group blog called Netartery at
http://netartery.vispo.com . Which looks a bit like a much earlier project
of mine called Webartery ( http://vispo.com/defib/pastevents.htm ).

There are only a few posts, so far, to Netartery. They're by Gregory
Whitehead, Andy Campbell, Jhave Johnston, and myself. Currently 13 people
have agreed to post at least 6 times per year. That number will probably
increase and decrease and, hopefully, balance out to something steady in
terms of semi-regular posts.

Netartery is like netpoetic in that the reader and writership will consist
probably primarily of writers. But the focus is not so much on 'electronic
writing' as a more general 'writers gone wrong' approach. Gregory Whitehead,
for instance, is an audio writer. I've been following his work since the 80's
and regard him as the best literary audio artist I've encountered.

Jhave Johnston ( http://glia.ca ) and Andy Campbell (
http://dreamingmethods.com ) are also involved. Jhave Johnston is a
Montréal-based poet-programmer who is producing some of the strongest
contemporary poetic net art (such as http://vispo.com/jhave ). And Andy
Campbell has been producing digital fiction since the early nineties and
continues with his truly outstanding project dreamingmethods.com . The other
people involved (and haven't posted yet) are Chris Joseph, Christina
Ljungberg, Christine Wilks, Jason Quackenbush, Kedrick James, Leonardo
Flores, Marcus Bastos, Michael Harold, and Regina Célia Pinto.

Netartery is primarily a place to post about one's new work and new work of
interest to the group and its readership, and about related issues. New
work, interesting ideas, events, and so on. The people posting to Netartery
are media writers and scholars of media writing. They are 'writers gone
wrong' in this sense. They might write books, but they are also involved in
other forms of artistic writing. These can be vispoetic or performative,
programmerly, audio-oriented, and what not.


Of Meercats and Music: the Daxophonic Hans Reichel of Daxo.de

Here is a review I wrote (
http://netpoetic.com/2010/05/the-daxophonic-hans-reichel-of-daxo-de ) of a
suite of 12 interactive audio Flash works at daxo.de by Hans Reichel.

"Hans Reichel (1949) is a German improvisational guitarist, experimental
luthier, inventor, and type designer." So saith Wikipedia so you know the
statement has passed many semi-clueless scrutinies to emerge supported,
probably not without revision. But, yes, he is all that and more. The 'more'
part includes creator-of-the-Flash-interactive-audio-visual-daxo.de, which
we shall look at.

Daxo.de is one of the best hypermedia works of its kind that I've



Interactive audio on the net

Here is an annotated list of links to works of interactive audio on the net: http://vispo.com/misc/ia.htm .

Toward the bottom of the page there's also a section on 'Writings and Videos' about interactive audio works, and a section on 'Other News Sources' for information and links.



Net Art and the Fireflies of Eternity

imagine print without literature, just news and technical documentation,
bills of lading, position papers, and so on.

imagine the moving picture without art, just as surveillance and
video-phone, etc.

now imagine the net without net art.

to many people, the latter is much easier to imagine than the former two
distopias. we have had literature for thousands of years and art has been a
part of the moving picture since near its start in the nineteenth century.
but net art has only been around since the early to mid 1990's. about 17
years, at this point, this being 2010. and the net is often treated as a
spewing information pipeline that has to be managed and filtered for usable
practical information often of a consumeristic nature. shopping information,
banking info, calendar info, and so on. as an entertainment medium, it's
mostly used for videos, online games, news, email communication, and so on.
not as a medium in which we seek out the art particular to the net. by 'net
art' i do not ,mean video or degraded print, (per se, although they can be
part of net art) but art specific to the net. that's what i mean by net art.
art that requires an internet connection and lives and breathes through a
browser or because of its internet connection, if it's a desktop program.

what we lose with there not being as prominent an art of the net as there is
of print and moving image is related to what we would lose were there not a
prominent art of print or art of the moving image.

some might object to that proposition. they might say that the net without
net art is no more difficult to imagine than the telephone without telephone
art. which is easy to imagine because the telephone hasn't developed
prominently as a medium for art. which isn't to say that there
haven't been good telephone art projects. but name me five of them.

the telephone has developed as a medium primarily for conversations between
participating parties. we don't dial up to listen to art, much. or
participate in an art project when we are actually on the phone. there's
nothing to say we couldn't. and perhaps we have, once or twice. still others
will say that the art of the telephone is the art of conversation. which
isn't specific to the telephone but is certainly different via telephone, in
important ways, than it is face to face.

we imagine, then, a secret art of the telephone in which lovers and others
really digging each other engage. often not recorded but enjoyed and
remembered personally, just the two (or n) of them. a private art without a
prominent public face. though telephone conversations and recordings play
crucial parts, sometimes, in works of art for other media such as movies,
drama, and music.

telephone has not developed a prominent public art because it is so strong
concerning private conversations. the possibilities for dial-up telephone
art or interactive telephone art are completely overshadowed by the way we
typically use the telephone, which is not a public art use or even an
artistic use of any kind, for the most part. we have trouble with fiction
and pretend, often, on the telephone. the stakes are different than in
reading a book or watching art because of the element of trust and personal
disclosure. to say nothing of fraud, which we also are quite familiar with
from the telephone.

the net is quite different from telephone, of course. it is not overwhelmed,
currently, by live conversation. we have had many of them, over the net but
it is by no means all we do over the net. the types of activities we engage
in include writing, viewing visual information, listening to auditory
information, responding to visual, sonic and written information, and a
variety of media, interactive or not. the net subsumes several media at
once. all broadcast media. and some broadcast that has not and cannot be
broadcast otherwise. that'd be the net art and other net-specific

the net also subsumes private broadcasting, narrowcasting. the
telephone--even all forms of radio--even the CB, eventually--can be
net-based. the network is the frequency or set of frequencies. and the
frequency or frequencies can be channeled around the world.

the net also subsumes certain dimensions of print culture. publications have
a net component or are entirely net-based. the range is quite broad. the web
site may simply be a desolate info booth, devoid of interest, or it may rock
the universe in every way. it depends on the involvement in the net the
publication has. artistically, financially, as a distribution mechanism and
as a serious medium in its own right concerning content, the presentation of
content, the definition of content, the media of it, the permanence of it,
and so on. is it meant as entertainment or reference information or
queriable service and/or store or news channel or personal blog or as a post
within a larger network of sites one communicates with?

also, individuals publish their work on the net. sometimes on their own
sites, sometimes elsewhere. on journals, the sites of other individuals,
into huge youtubish databases, and so on. the net is both about publication
and communication. broadcasting and interaction. we are struggling to
understand how this changes the nature of publication itself. and the nature
of communication itself.

one of the great powers of the internet is it's ability to carry a broad
range of media and modes simultaneously or individually. by 'mode', i mean
its type of interactivities or lack thereof. by 'media' i mean sound,
visuals, text, and moving images.

it should be clear by now that the internet is going to play an increasingly
important role in broadcast, narrowcast and communication media. and in
knowledge storage and dissemination. and much else.

consequently, an art of the net poetentially becomes too broad and diffuse a
notion. the notion of 'digital art' is so vast it includes scans of photos
of one's cat posted to flickr. there can be no art form called 'digital art'
because 'digital art' is just any art that may even simply have been
digitized from analog and shoveled unreflectively to the realm of bits and
bytes. is 'net art', similarly, so broad as to not be a particular art form
in itself?

well, no, it's not. different people look at it in different ways. my way is
to specify an art in which the internet connection is crucial. whether for
communication or the querying of databases (and the subsequent retrieval of
dynamic information), or for other decisions relayed or processed
meaningfully via the net. the art of the net is one of the most important
envisionings of the possibilities the net holds concerning broadcast and
communications media, publication, and the synthesis of media, arts,
communication, technology, and science. the art of the net, ideally, is
where we go to get and understand our most intense and fully realized
visions of these possibilities--even when the art doesn't seem to be about
these things at all, sometimes. but of course we do not need to scratch too
deeply to understand that every painting is, in some sense, about painting,
every media work is about its medium, in some sense, to the degree that it
uses its media/um in media-specific ways. in its 'rhetoric of media', then.
and, more deeply yet, in its philosophy of media. stated or not. present or
implied or vacuous, a vacuum filled by the activity of the media/um all over
it like water over the swimmer.

net art encapsulates not only our deepest visions of the possibilities for
meaningful change via or partly because of the internet, but our deepest
visions concerning who and what we become via the existence of the net and
electronic networks more broadly. anything that involves important changes
in who and what we are and how we live and enjoy life and learn and
communicate and view and publish work is important for us to understand and
explore with passion--if for no other reason, then because to understand
these helps us know who and what we are becoming and maybe even already are.
and where we are going. and just what it means to be alive in this
particular age.

that is an important part of what we treasure about the art of the past. the
art of the past is one of our best ways of understanding life in the past.
we wonder if net art will enjoy that sort of status in the future because of
the issues of obsolescence of technology. will net art last long enough to
have that sort of use to futurity? or will it be continually of the moment?
firefly media of the moment that is burned quickly in the fire of

well, the jury is still out. certainly much, most, almost all will perish
and does so, so far, about every decade as browser technology changes and
networks expand into other, non-browser technologies and some protocols fall
out of use, eclipsed by brighter suns. but some net art persists. it takes
special engineering, often, a savvy knowledge of what's a good bet to work
with and what isn't.

the serious work will survive for some time. long enough to have that sort
of use to futurity. we're just not sure how far that futurity extends.

but, you know, it's never the thing beyond the grave that we want in this
life. except if it be peace or happiness or a like reward. and it is our joy
to find these in this life as we proceed. which is a way of saying that
whether net art now has a use to futurity later is not the only criterion to
measure its importance now. in fact, it's a terrible criterion because we
don't know the outcome now. the more important issue is what it does for us
now. and what it does for us now is help us understand the wired life now
and where it is going and how that changes us. and that's important to
understand who we are.

which implies that if net art fails as an art form then we lack artistic
ways to understand who and what we are via the introduction of the internet
into our worlds. this, in turn, would imply a sort of telephone-like usage
of the media/um of the net, a failure of imagination in the presence of
overwhelming homogenization of discourse. or a fundamental unfitness of net
worlds to provide an environment that can support art.
permanence/impermanence of media is a consideration. but so is monetary
economy. let's not forget that the monetary infrastructures that support art
as business are crucial to non-digital and digital art alike. the economies
of attention and valorization have strong ties to the monetary economies of
print, visual art, music, and so forth. the circles of 'high art' typically
have ties to the economic opportunities in the art. there is a sense in
which art has nothing to do with art but with marketing, public relations,
corporate or institutional sponsorship, friend networks, and other such
factors which--more than the quality of the art itself--determine
the standing of the art in society.

net art has not been particularly prominent in ecommerce. quite the
contrary. the idea is basically do what you love and the rest will follow.

it doesn't necessarily follow, of course, with any financial reward. this is
a hurdle net art has to navigate by hook or by crook. currently it is a very
tough proposition. net art has been a follower in this regard. the artists
have not really developed good economic models. or have not followed through
on them, when they have been imagined.

i remember reading what a new york artist wrote about mail art. he said it
was dead and wasn't of much account as art. isn't this sort of foolish
attitude simply a consequence of mail art remaining at a distance from the
galleries and a significant monetary economy? does his attitude have
anything to do with the art itself or familiarity with it? not likely. the
excitement people feel about art works or an art itself is often not about
the art itself but the value of the art as commodity valorized, ie,
marketed, in appealing ways. we like to think of art as the house of
what reallymatters in life and relationships and thought and the
meaning of life and the creation of beauty, truth, and justice. and it is,
in important ways. but it is very much a house in this world, with all
the troubles of other houses. will net art continue to exist as mail art
does? basically outside the institutions? i think it's fundamentally a
question of whether it develops a significant monetary economy. it's
not fundamentally a question of the quality of the art itself. and this
seems true to me also of mail art.

another impediment to net art is the depth of art experience it can support.
what is the emotionally deepest flash work you've experienced? did it change
your life? art needs to be capable of being taken as seriously as
revelation. revelation and transformation are key aspects to our most
important art experiences. firefly media might do it, but not likely. what
is at issue here is the ability of net art to really help us understand who
and where we are, as opposed to merely our being given caricatures and
cartoons of existence--though they can be much more meaningful than
we usually admit. but, still, it's possible for media to lose or never find
its way to our deepest experience. net art seeks its way to our deepest
experience via the wire to inner worlds, outer worlds, and their

net art must succeed for the internet to be as significant a human venture
as print or cinema. for if it fails, that means we cannot really feel it and
think in it in the ways we associate with art. and these are important to
the ways we understand ourselves and the world, and come to be articulate
and expressive and formulate what worlds we want to make now and for the
future. the failure of net art would be a massive failure of imagination
that would give unto the forces of dullness an unbearable lightness of
media, too complete a capacity for forgetting, and a medium without an inner

net art seeks the human in the post-human, the post in the human, the human
in the post, and the post-human in the post-human. to know what it is to be
human now, and wired. no net art means the wired is tired. a tired wired is
wired working for the man, is corporate complete, is shop till long after
you have dropped, is dronification wired to the grind of slaves, the energy
of slaves, the no poetry zone, no imagination but in products, no ideas but
in products, the triumph of consumerism and perfectly thoughtless media.

accordingly, net art is important to the well-being and futurity of any
possible wired world, and to our understanding of our current situation and
capacities, even, as fireflies of eternity.

so we see what we lose with there not being as prominent an art of the net
as there is of print and moving image is related to what we would lose were
there not a prominent art of print or art of the moving image. those
distopian possibilities seem very remote, as possibilities, because the
media have such rich histories attached to them that we see the very
existence of print and moving image implying the growth of the artistic
cultures that have grown up with the media of print and the moving image,

will we have a similar sense of the richness of history of net art in a
hundred years time? i think it will be a history fraught with more changes
in the technology than we associate with the history of print or the moving
image. so it will be more fragmented a history, consequently. the net art
media species, as it were, will evolve and change and mutate in ways we
associate with hyperspaces. but it will have known histories, nonetheless,
contentious and mysterious, almost, as the present, for anyone who looks
closely into the fire at the contradictions of even the moment of art.


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For Millie Niss

Sun Feb 07, 2010 00:00 - Sun Feb 07, 2010

Martha Deed, Millie's Niss's mother, has put together 111 photos of Millie
from birth till shortly before her death on November 29. I've put those
photos and Martha's notes about the photos on vispo.com, along with a piece
of writing I did about Millie.


Many thanks to Martha for allowing me and you access to these photos which
are dear to her. I found them very moving and learned much about my friend's
life that I did not know, previously. Thanks also to Martha for her generous
correspondence with me, in a difficult time for her, throughout the process
of our doing this project. I quote one of Martha's emails in its entirety in
the writing I did; it is very illuminating concerning several issues
relevant to the photos and provides us with some knowledge of the health
problems Millie experienced throughout her life.

'For Millie Niss' also contains many links to Millie's work, writings about
her, and to Martha's work. They worked together as a creative team sometimes
known as M & M. Martha is continuing her own work and is also working on
various projects involving Millie's writings and web art. Martha is
continuing in her creativity, which one can't help but know Millie would
have wished for her very much. She is continuing the Sporkworld blog she and
Millie did together, for instance, at http://sporkworld.tumblr.com .