Thanks for taking the time to check out the site and offer your opinion.
dump.fm is still very much in *beta*, and is operating as an experiment to see how people use it and want to use it; so we can modify and enhance its functionality.
That being said, I'd like to respond to your critique.
-Yes! That would indeed be awesome and something on our to-do list. Another thingy in the works would be a right click Firefox plug in so you could simply "send to dump.fm"
I think the ability to post text inline with the flow of the images makes the whole experience less cool. Participants have a tendency to fall back on using familiar/safe Times New Roman English to communicate. It would be more uncanny if the main forum were just images. Text conversation could happen off-site via other channels.
-This was initially considered but dismissed because we thought it may be too incapacitating for building community. A button would be nice though to turn text on or off.
The revenge of animated gifs! Animated gifs prevail online where Flash and Quicktime fail precisely because they are so RSS-able. The animated gif does not take the monadic form of the complete book, the complete sentence, or even the complete phrase. It is a grammatical molecule, a syntactical hieroglyph, a jpg on wheels. It is ideal for this form of visual chat.
-I would agree, but would add that if one GIF can be a "grammatical molecule", than 100 can be a "complete sentience" and 10,000 can be a "book"...
For me the value of creativity's product is completely experiential, and difficult to quantify in the frame rate or file extension of a medium.
Following Virillio and McLuhan: Real-time speed of exchange fundamentally alters the nature of communication (which is why the Rhizome discussion forum was dead in the water the moment it became moderated and time-lagged). In a real-time chat environment, images begin to head toward an actual form of "discourse" (Heidegger) and "utterance" (Bakhtin). When these visual exchanges are handled with a modicum of care, this kind of "language" moves toward event performance and away from mere semiotic representation. It's a good thing.
-Yeah, I think I agree. I also think that in most social settings our self consciousness and ego makes discourse an act of performance.
The dump.fm environment (potentially) changes the way I curate images and create images online.
a. My tumblr site ( http://lab404.tumblr.com
) now becomes a repository for future dialogues, a kind of personal lexicon / visual dictionary / expressive arsenal. I stockpile images not for what "they say" in and of themselves individually, or even what they say next to other images in the context of my tumblr site; but I stockpile them for what they may allow me to say at some future time in some heretofore unknown visual chat context.
b. I am tempted to begin creating animated gifs not so much for their novelty, beauty, or integration into larger, self-determined, holistic online contexts (like http://playdamage.org
); but for their versatile use as visual "terms" at some future time in some heretofore unknown visual chat context.
-I can dig it. Thanks for the articulated observation!
The "visual chat" medium alone is not enough to ward off mind-numbingly banal visual language. Pornography, gore, scatology, racism, rehashed 4chan memes, blingee-modified nuptial-script typography -- it's like giving a bunch of six-year-olds access to a home recording studio and watching them spend all their time whispering "poo poo" into the microphone and giggling about it. I get it; I just don't have a fetishistic craving for it.
McLuhan says the content of any new medium is always the previous medium. We're given film technology, and all we can think to do is film theater dramas. We get the chance to construct our own visual language and do some actual net.REsearch, and all we can do is regurgitate the de facto net.surface languages we have inherited from corporations, people transfixed by the spectacle of corporations, people impotently and "ironically" giggling at corporations and their transfixed audiences, Lord of the Rings fans, and mySpace users.
de Certeau says we can't necessarily control the content we are fed, but we can control what we make of it, how we "make do" with it. Posting a litany of blingee pink unicorns acquired by doing a google search for "blingee pink unicorns" is not really "making do" with much.
-For me, the goal of dump.fm was never to "ward off banal visual language". As a theorist (and one who sites McLuhan at that) I am surprised that you can't look past a qualitative judgment of content in favor for a more objective judgment of medium. Possibly a better use of a de Certaeu reference would be in trying to understand why people are drawn to such "mind-numbingly banal visual language".. for it was his philosophies which attempted to uncover the quibbles of the common man. dump.fm is a medium, a tool for communication, what is posted on it is not dump.fm... it is always in motion and influx.
The problem (when chats get boring) is not even the banal content, but the lack of innovative visual syntax, alternate search strategies, and ingenious recontextualizations.
a. tiresome: http://www.profilebrand.com/imgs/layouts/21gangster/282/282_L-gangsta-gun.jpg
b. un-tiresome: http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_kyx3k7HhWE1qb58eqo1_1280.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=0RYTHV9YYQ4W5Q3HQMG2&Expires=1268073834&Signature=CHXoN8yOw4BVdzjwLHsZTWxp%2BFs%3D
A lack of digital craft skills means a lack of modulation agency: you can find, tile, and title, but you can't get under the hood and tweak. A lack of historical knowledge means rehashing the same old bottom-of-the-barrel net.swill ad infinitum: you can't Google "Antonin Artaud drawings" if you don't know who he is. What results is a hermetically sealed Baudrillardian hyper-reality left to fester in the flat/uniform light of a perpetual present. "Maybe go out, maybe stay home, maybe call mom on the telephone" [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4svG-6vHDfk
-Seems like an awfully pretentious argument. Images don't get tired, people do. While you may be tired of image "A" it doesn't mean the image is tired. Didn't the Dadaists prove that its all about context anyways? You linking to these images on Rhizome is much different than linking to them on MySpace. Dump.fm is a modular, "mash-up" environment; where the context of an image can change if you want it to. Also why can't you google "Antonin Artaud drawings" without ever having heard of him? Isn't that how you learn things? By discovery?
This banality is partially excused by 2 factors:
a. chatting is more banal that writing, so visual chatting is going to be more banal that visual blogging (aka "surf clubbin'").
b. some chatters are more banal than others.
-Most people find theory extremely banal. I bet there are more chatters than theorists in the world.
Having said all that, it still seems worth the risk to keep things fast and open. The fast pace forces a performative aspect and a curious type of improvisational thinking (a thinking which synthesizes research, memory, gestalt recognition of forms, semiotic cultural memory, wordplay). This kind of performativity and improvisational thinking does not occur at the slower pace of bulletin board or newslist communication.
-I really do appreciate your comments, in the future we will have separate rooms and users will be able to create their own rooms. There will also be some new exciting ways of pulling content that will be introduced. We want to make dump a real time spectacle of the internet, and something more useful than just glittery banter...... even though personally I enjoy it :)
It's fun. It would be fun to recruit a posse of old school freaks and hijack it for an evening.
-That would be awesome :)