Myron Turner
Since the beginning
Works in Winnipeg United States of America

My work for the web has been included in Rhizome's Artbase,,, Machinista 2003/Artificial Intelligence and Art,,, It has been shown at the Fredericton Independent Film & Video Alliance Conference, and supported by the Banff Centre's New Media program. In 2005 one of my pieces was nominated for a Viper International award. My project "Bstat Zero" will be featured in February 2006 as an Artport project of the Whitney Museum Of Art. I have been a guest panelist at Banff and founded Manitoba Visual Arts Network in 1994. I've been a member of Rhizome from its first year. My personal web site is

I started my career as a printmaker, moved into photo-based art, and in 1990 began using computers in my work. My work has appeared throughout Canada both in public galleries and artist-run centers. I have also exhibited in the U.S., Great Britain and South America. My woodcut prints interpreting zoomed digital images have twice won awards at the Boston Printmakers' "North American Print" biennial and have been shown in various print competitions and venues, including The Print Center (Philadelphia) and International Print Center New York.
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Re: Re: An Interpretive Framework for Contemporary Database Practice in the Arts

Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:08

I'm not sure if Geert had read Manovich's article on the sublime and data. Brett's essay sent me to it because I wanted to clarify for myself what Manovich (and Brett) had in mind when they were talking about the sublime. Manivoch is contrasting Romantic aritsts, who aimed beyond the senses, aimed at the sublime, to data artists who seek to create beauty by making mapping data to a form that the senses can grasp. But he is concerned, like Geert I belive, that such art leaves out the human dimension, leaves out subjectivity. Manivoich concludes his essay with a personal plea which is very affecting and worth repeating:

"For me, the real challenge of data art is not about how to map some abstract and impersonal data into something meaningful and beautiful - economists, graphic designers, and scientists are already doing this quite well. The . . .more important challenge is how to represent the personal subjective experience of a person living in a data society.. . .How [can] new media. . . represent the ambiguity, the otherness, the multi-dimensionality of our experience. . ? In short, rather than trying hard to pursue the anti-sublime ideal, data visualization artists should also not forget that art has the unique license to portray human subjectivity."


Geert Dekkers wrote:

> To conclude somewhat hastily -- I do think data and information are
> important pieces of the puzzle, but I think that any good work of art
> recreates a complete and full world, a reflection of our world, and
> in doing so fundamentally grasps the interdependance between our
> bodies, our language and culture. This is at least what I am trying
> to do.
> Geert


Re: An Interpretive Framework for Contemporary Database Practice in the Arts

As usual, Brett Stalbaum gives us a lot to think about in this essay.

But I'm not sure I am convinced by his argument that speed is the differentiating element in current information technology. As he points out human beings have from earliest times sought to abstract data from the material world, and the Sumerian accountant is a case in point--accounting is historically one of the most important instances of data abstraction. But the issue for the ancient Sumerian, if he had wanted for some reason to communicate his data to others, was not speed alone. By showing his tablets to his neighbor, he could very speedily communicate his data, just as he very speedily could tell his neighbor what what on his mind by talking face to face with him.

The issue for the ancient Sumerian would be communicating his data and his ideas to increasingly larger numbers of others. How would he deal with this? He could gather interested parties into a large group and speak his ideas to them. Or he could get on his horse and using its greater capacity for speed go from farm to farm. In other words, I feel that the issue isn't speed but numbers and space. His horse would enable him to carry his data to one neighbor at a time over considerable distances (as he understood them) at the speed of a horse. His convocation of interested parties would enable him to communicate his ideas as widely as his voice could carry. The problem of numbers is really a problem of space. How much space can you cover in a given time.

If we move ahead into the industrial era, we see that we've had speed for a long time -- the telegraph, the telephone. But they had the same limits as the ancient Sumerian -- limits in how much space could be traversed at one time. These technologies could do it faster than the ancient Sumerian's horse, but they were still largely face to face technolgies:

"Hello. That you, Jack? I have 30 bushels of corn. Have to run. Still have to call Sam and Wayne. Bye."

But we've had other technologies which have addressed in different ways the issues of space, numbers and speed: printing, the phonograph, photography, radio, tv--each of which could communicate to large numbers of people with various degrees of speed. An interesting technology in this context is the teletype which communicated the same data to large numbers of people across a wide geography and as fast as the wires could carry the words(and later the pictures).

I really don't have answers as to what distinguishes digital culture from earlier technogologies. It seems to me more than just differences of degree--greater speed, greater numbers, more geography. My feeling is that it has to do with networking and the nature of networks and how networks have been organized.

Myron Turner


Re: artport gatepage Feb. 06: The Bstat Zero Project by Myron Turner

February 06 gatepage
for artport, the Whitney Museum's portal to Internet art:

The Bstat Zero Project
by Myron Turner

Bstat Zero is a cooperative project focused on opening up the normally hidden interconnections among new media web sites and so give us some insight into the cultural contexts which make up the world of new media.

It is, first of all, a "log analyzer". Whenever you visit a web site, a record of that visit is logged by the web server. Bstat Zero examines these logs and shows the results in your web browser.

While Bstat Zero shows most of the standard statistics found in web log analyzers, its emphasis is not statistics but on where the traffic comes from (countries, domains, IP addresses, browsers, operating systems), and how it has been "referred" to the site (search engines, search terms, other web sites). Its most significant feature is its ability to do "cross-site" comparisons.

Bstat Zero comes in two versions, one running on the web sites of participating artists and groups and the other on On a participating web site, you can view your own results, which are updated daily, and then archived monthly so that you can check back in time. At the end of each month downloads to its own server the monthly archives from each participant. It's at that the cross-site facility comes into effect, making it possible to investigate the underlying patterns of viewership and use among new media web sites.

Myron Turner is a multi-media artist whose work combines photography, light-boxes, printmaking and computers. He has exhibited in galleries and artist-run centers throughout Canada, in the US, the U.K. and South America, and his digitally produced woodblock prints have won several awards at Boston Printmakers North American Biennials.

Myron Turner has been working with the Internet since 1994. His work for the Web has been included in various on-line exhibitions and collections, including "data/reference/art" at, the software art repository, the Rhizome artbase, RRF 2004---XP, Machinista 2003 / Artificial Intelligence and Art, and He has received New Media grants from the Banff Centre for the Arts, where he has participated as an invited panelist, and in 1994, he co-founded the Manitoba Visual Arts Network. His work can be accessed through his web site at


Re: Re: Re: isabelle dinoire

This thread has worked up such a great amount of interest that I was finally drawn in to see what it was all about. I'm afraid I couldn't help finding the video amusing--it was so over the top. So the question is, first: what did I find amusing, and secondly at what is the amusement directed?

My amusement was first of all separate from the subject, isabelle dinoire--that is, what I saw was a spoof of 40's/50's horror flicks. But, I had seen the Dinoire interview on the news, and cutting through the sympathy that one could not help but feel was her intention to continue smoking despite its dangers to the immune system and its potential to cause rejection. So, somehow absurdity seemed to pile on absurdity. And my amusement.

But once the real Isabelle entered into my reaction, when I was no longer reacting to just the spoof of horror flicks, I had to step back and ask what kind of person I was to find this pathetic situation amusing. And here is where the second question comes in: at what is the amusement directed.

Well, I don't really think I'm such a bad guy. But, I found her intention to continue smoking to be ridiculous, ethically ridiculous. Not that she doesn't have the right to destroy herslf. But here is a person who has focused on her case the attention of the world's medical community, who has put the state to great expense in order to undertake the procedure and who has moreover, willingly or not, participated in bringing the attention of the world to her plight and has implictly if not in fact explicity, in the interview, asked for our sympathy and good wishes. So her reckless disregard struck me as ridiculous, and I'm afraid that that sense of the ridiculous added to my amusement when I watched the video.

That's my personal response. But it doesn't answer any questions about the video itself. Is the video in fact a spoof? And if so at what is the humor directed? Is it simply directed at the genre? Well, it can't be, at least not for us, since we can't dissociate it from the interview and the situation. Or is it a serious piece, expressing revulsion. If so, what's the revulsion directed at? Or is it ambidextrous, expressing both amusement and revulsion? Someone mentioned that the video is part of the artist's larger interest in re-mixing. I can see that, but I'm not clear about what the video wants us to understand from that allusion. I guest what I'm saying is that I don't feel the video supplies us with enough context to make these judgments and that we are left to supply the contexts ourselves. It's hard for me to believe, for instance, that there's not an element of pardoy in the piece. But to be honest, I'm not sure. And if there is parody, I'm not sure what the parody means. So,
finally, I'm left on my own.


Re: Re: Re: AJAX for artists

Eric Dymond wrote:

> Myron Turner wrote:
> > "The intent is to shift a great deal of interaction to the Web
> > surfer's computer, exchanging data with the server behind the
> scenes,
> > so that the entire Web page does not have to be reloaded each time
> the
> > user makes a change. This is meant to increase the Web page's
> > interactivity, speed, and usability." -- from wikipedia
> >
> > This is a practice which I've been interested in for some time, most
> > recently in Bstat Zero at, where
> using
> > php and perl and both hidden and visible frames, I create a user
> > interface that remains constant, while a great deal of data is
> loaded
> > into the hidden frames and accessed by the user interface.
> >

> I have found that the javascript calls reduce the round trip for the
> client.
> The reason being that the entire web page doesn't have to rebuild
> state, just the javascript callback. Only the javascript layer makes
> the query, the page remains in state.
> From a design view, this offers a very different design model.
> Current design models require the server to re-emit the page in it's
> entirety. The javascript callback keeps the page in state, no flicker
> or refresh issues.
> Eric
> >

Yes, this is very attractive. If you take a look at bstatzero you'll see that there's no flicker, because much of the data is already on the browser in the hidden frames. But what I've done there is relatively more static than what Ajax enables, which is a very focused updating of data and the screen. I did something more like it in a piece called "Old News" some years ago, which constantly updates headlines to the screen.
It loads an array of headlines and front page images from a selected newspaper and when it comes to the end of the array, it fetches headlines and images from the next paper. It's totally transparent to the user. I haven't kept up with the changes in style of the newspapers. I see it's still picking up headlines from the NY Times but stops when it gets to the Washington Post.