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ART IN THE AGE OF DIGITAL DISSEMINATION CLASS ESSAYS from a Fine Arts Course taught at the University of Victoria, B.C., Canada by Brad Brace, 1993

Contact: or, Brad Brace, 503-230-1197

This Fine Arts course was the first "art & technology" course taught at the University of Victoria. The students involved were from a variety of disciplines (although, primarily visual arts students) and had for the most part, little or no previous exposure to computers. The Computer Lab at the University has, an array of imperious nerds intent on empire-building, 10 networked Sun workstations, a few slow Macintoshes, two flatbed scanners, one PC and some basic pagelayout and photo manipulation software primarily for the Macintoshes, basic sound/midi equipment, and a grumpy creative-writing professor who regularly shuffles down the hall to the faculty-lounge to wash out his teapot. This was enough equipment to provide glimpses of creative possibilities; I suspect that enough enthusiasm has been generated to warrant the purchase of additional equipment and software, and to have this course offered on a regular basis. A printing press would also be a nice adjunct to the existing traditional visual art departments. I have also offered to design and build a virtual text-based reality (MOO) for the Fine Arts Department.

Although characterized as a "studio course" I felt it more appropriate to discuss the larger issues involving technology and contemporary culture and minimize the importance of a through "knowledge" of specific software. This was accomplished with handouts and discussions of pertinent articles, screenings of appropriate films, and contemporary music. Particular attention was given to networks and interconnectivity in general and of course, the Internet. Although this was an introductory course, the exposure to the various resources available through the Internet encouraged a phenomenally rapid grasp of both digital dissemination and the (Unix) operating system.

  1. ———-

Course Description: "A flirtatious romp lightly over the glittering periphery of digital technology. Has art and the avant garde disappeared from view, gradually leaking into an all-pervasive generalized aestheticism? Could it be that something that might have once been called art is alive and flourishing between connected networkers… unbeknownst to implausible and incestuous art institutions? Are there really still artists around who think they're making art? Are computer systems virtually enacting the penultimate hierarchy, enforcing oppressive political privilege; or are they the new democratic, means of representation? Has the critical art press stood still under a deluge of new cultural publications? Have we *all* become artist? These questions and more…!

   "An introduction and collaborative overview and analysis of

fairly recent, mid-range, cultural tools and their implied functions.

   "Students are encouraged to attend all classes and optimize

their uses of the equipment while exploring various venues throughout the reserved studio time following the class each morning. Other facilities on and off-campus will also be utilized.

   "A reminder that an informal essay of three to four thousand

words is required for this course. It should be "brimming with original insight and speculation on contemporary culture and technology." It may be informal in that it employs creative writing techniques (contemporary structures, verse, quotations, dialogue, illustrations, etc.). It may make reference to contemporary media, including the materials/sources shown in class.

   "Also required, is an electronic-portfolio of visual and

audio art projects. This should demonstrate some degree of familiarity of software and resources covered in the lab. It need not be an extensive or necessarily cohesive body of work. It should be strongly suggestive of a developing approach to technological media."


The Dematerialization of Art, Life, and Real Estate.

"The highest problem of any art is to cause by appearance the illusion of a higher reality." - Goethe Although Goethe's exact meaning is open to interpretation the computer appears to be a tool ready to meet the spirit of his objectives. At least in the minds of many electronic artists. The computer, particularly draws the attention of artists today because it epitomizes current technological development and offers the greatest potential for exploring new creative places. If we somehow feel limited by our imagination, the demands of the marketplace, or current art theory, the computer is one element that somehow suggests unlimited potential. For those who consider themselves to be Renaissance men and women the computer is a godsend. In addition to being a production tool the computer is a window on and an interface to the rest of the electronically connected world. The computer as production tool switches modes and becomes a link to countless other artists and resource people throughout the world. It only takes a little thought to consider the possibilities of combining these activities.

Analyzing the computer as a creative tool is similar to considering fire as a system to cook one's dinner. It can certainly do that but it has some other dimensions and possibilities. Understanding the realm of the computer and its companion data highways is pertinent to its effective use. What context does art occupy when it uses electronic space? What new creative possibilities does it present, what are its limitations.. audience.. temporal qualities.. style.. control… access.. money.. appropriation.. credibility..? Is there a new underlying language used to create and read art-cyberart. Can traditional art fit into the cyberworld? Can Venus de Milo be digitized and stored on to a hard drive and still be a credible work of art?

The computer as creative tool dematerializes the process of production. A painter might personally mix gallons of paint, spend hours making canvases, wait for paint to dry, spill paint on his clothes or make a small rip in his canvas. None of this is a factor or even a possibility when the image maker uses Adobe Illustrator. Is any of this an influencing factor in creating culturally significant images. Can these qualities be duplicated and available in another set of pull-down menus? The materiality of art has always been a significant dimension, not only of its final form but in influencing the creative process. Subtleties expressed by Russian sable and bamboo from the Mediterranean will present a challenge to future programmers. Can computers replicate the interaction between traditional tools, natural materials, and chance occurrence? The future of media such as metal-plate etching and lithography may be perpetuated because of their distinctiveness or they may simply become an archaic mode to be mimicked by a graphics program. However, computers can give us some interesting interpretations of materials. Swiftly moving granite-bodied humanoids, leopard-skinned fish, and chromed-metal mountains may constitute kitsch imagery but they prove that the computer does genuinely extend the dynamic range of expression.

The lack of materiality in creating art is perhaps secondary to the non-existence of the completed art work. Although the finished piece may reside in digital form as a description in computer code it can only take physical form by another process of creation, usually mechanical. This re-creation requires an interpretation of the original and removes the artist from the final completed piece. Psychologically it places him/her in the category of being a symbolic language worker and analogous to being a data entry clerk. This method of production mirrors other mass produced consumer products and merchandise from the music and entertainment industry. Questions of authenticity, provenance, place and uniqueness all affect the value and purpose of computer generated art work. So.. can computers be used to create high art?

Conversely, artists can now extend their domain greatly. Most significantly, they can jump the fences of the traditional cultural gate keepers. Since most establishment galleries have a focused audience, limited budgets, and aesthetic agendas the opportunities for new or alternative works are limited. Informal electronic galleries can post computer files with minimal cost and provide many more times the exposure of individual galleries. Although some electronic galleries will probably develop their own gate-keeping qualities the diversity and the large number of computer installations will probably always provide unique opportunities for new and non-mainstream art to find an audience.

Artists that create work for the realm of computers and networks will find interesting discussions regarding copyright, access, file standards, reproduction rights, appropriation, modification, and methods of electronic payment.

New display systems will continue to be developed for outputting computer files. Since more and more programs are incorporating 3D functions the interest in VVDs (volume visualization displays) is growing. Since the promises of holography and Star Trek to bring live, full motion, 3D images into our living room has not materialized, computer controlled optical-mechanical systems are being developed. "Holographic displays show some long-term potential but they can not be generated in real time. Their field of view is fundamentally limited, and these displays typically change their characteristics with the angle from which they are viewed." As an alternative, Texas Instruments has produced its Omniview device that allows the display of volumes in volumetric space. Until recently, 3D images have only been displayed on two dimensional CRTs and have required the inclusion of standard perspective cues such as shadows, texture gradients, and relative size comparisons. Stereo 3D systems have relied on the use of special glasses to simulate surface depth but could not allow movement around a three dimensional object. VVD displays use a rotating disk that fills the display volume, creating a surface point at any location in a half-round ball space. Then by using laser beams directed by X, Y, & Z computer controllers, images can be projected to any point in the volume. The concept is similar to the pictures drawn at laser shows but here 3 beams are used. A 36 inch diameter version has been built but a 10 foot diameter model is feasible. A viewer can circle the display sphere and see a three dimensional object from all directions while it moves in real time. The display's resolution can be changed to any desired value by redirecting the scanning system to overlap points. VVD resolution is expressed in voxels (vo lume pi xels). Early prototypes had 12,000 voxels, while current models display 70,000. Three lasers of different colours can provide a three-colour image or they can be mixed to provide a full colour palette. Presently, VVD systems require powerful computers to calculate 3D display data. Originally developed for the U.S. Department of Defense this technology's future will probably be more applicable to non military purposes. Proposed applications include air traffic control visualization. Air traffic controllers could look into the sphere and see the exact location, continuous movement and distance relationship between circling airplanes. Pointing to a plane with a laser beam would bring up its information on the computer screen. Other uses include medical diagnosis, weather pattern analysis, and remote control of space station docking. Visual artists could use this system to pre visualize sculpture projects, for choreography and to output 3D animation sequences.

The use of more conventional output devices will increase to materialize images and objects designed in the abstract world of the computer. CNC (Computer Numerical Control) equipment designed for the metal production industry and XY plotters can be used to cut out images in wood, vinyl, metal, or fabric. Three dimensional milling machines can materialize objects for sculpture and 3D animation. Existing 3D works and artifacts can be digitized, stored, and recreated in many different locations. Unlimited serial editions of 3D work could become more popular. The production of two dimensional works, including print publishing have created a need for the service bureau that specializes in outputting files for the artist and publisher. Future service bureaus will expand their systems to cover video, 3D media, and large-scale 2D imaging. Since specialized equipment is required to materialize creative ideas, the artist will more often be forced to conceive and work on his ideas in the realm of the abstract. In many cases the artist will only see the final completion of his work after sending the files to the "Service Bureau".

The total extent of cyberspace integration is still to be determined. Presently thousands of computers are connected through various networks such as the Internet, private commercial systems, open commercial systems, and hacker systems like FidoNet. Although most are platform independent there are still fairly narrow constraints on the type of data exchanged. There are parallel communications systems like land telemetry networks that monitor geological conditions, traffic movement, electrical power transmission, radar information and satellites that handle telecommunications and video signals. As more and more communications move away from the analog to the digital world as high definition television is soon expected to do the more integration of signals will occur. It is interesting to consider that a computer could order extra oxygen supplies from Missouri when its sensors determine a high level of air pollution in Los Angeles. Or that stock market futures price of grain would change after a computer analyzed infrared images of world crops. Artists might consider interactive works that are affected by natural forces, commercial activity, or combinations of conditions sensed by cyberlinks.

The networks will become a great source of ideas, feedback, and will present opportunities for collaboration. Art created for a world culture will need more than an North American perspective. A description of a Russian created program El-Fish states that "Russian programmers couldn't write successful accounting programs because they don't know about western business culture…but their culture developed sensibilities that combined beauty and non-utility". Artistic teams from different parts of the world can co-operate to create the best cultural products for a world audience.

As the digital bit becomes the standard building block for all information we will have greater interchangablity and interconnectivity. Nicholas Negroponte states that "all information providers will be in a common business - the bit radiation business - not radio, TV, magazines or newspapers". Advantages include being able to quickly construct many specific versions of a production and the non-material storage of products. Large numbers of books no longer have to auditioned because of the advent of print-on-demand printing systems. Many constructed realities will possibly only exist in digital form.

Unfortunately we may also develop creative techniques in one digital medium and simply apply them to others, maybe inappropriately. A music sequencer program allows you to Quantize while a photo manipulation program allows you to Equalize. They both use a common root technique of normalizing but specific digital manipulation concepts might not have universal application. However, is there expanded creativity in doing musical things to pictures and visa versa?

The enthusiasm for the digital domain does have some detractors. Analog constructions do have specific qualities that are aesthetically pleasing. They might not be able to be justified technically but certain nuances inherent in analog interpretations are artistically valid. Chemical imaging systems still create movies that are more pleasing to the eye. Tube amplifiers create a unique sound that can't really be duplicated by digital sound. As in other transitions we will loose some important characteristics and abilities when we adopt new technologies.

The cyberworld and computer created information obviously have their own language. Marshal McLuhan was convinced that the medium is really the message. Although content is significant when evaluating a short term experience, the inherent qualities of a medium are really what constitutes the overall message. TV really communicates passivity and mass conformity. The message of cyberspace is still being considered. The technical language of the cyberspace system is still in a tyrannical realm of linear text. Totally unforgiving of errors in letters & case it exerts a blind totalitarian control over the mechanics or structure of the system. However, the highly defined structure of the system opens an anarchic realm of interrelationships and interactions of possibilities. Perhaps the key distinguishing characteristic of the cyberworld is interactively. Users of the Internet are able to make more conscious choices about the information they receive, they can gather data into their own local electronic spheres, and they can interact with other users & information providers. We can assume that one message from cyberspace is activity rather than passivity. Coach potato mode will not work with a cyberspace screen.

Art has generally catered to the passive viewer. Although modern art has incorporated participatory elements and some interactive schemes most of the ideas are expressed in a one-way communications mode. Art galleries create interaction or choice by having patrons physically move from one location or art work to another. In most cases the cyberart will be presented to the viewer at his/her location. Instead of a nail on a wall, the computer will be a much more sophisticated display system. The digital nature of art will allow the viewer, if he so desires, to alter the artist s work, to appropriate it or to simply reject it by destroying the electronic file.

The visual style of cyberart often follows the myriad of choices the system provides. A complex system creates complex imagery. Interactive CD s offer menu screens with dozens of preview images. Text is supported by images. Images are augmented with text. Sound is added to business communications and moving image segments like QuickTime files are attached to technical reports. Ideas are expressed through layering several modes of expression. Pedagogical theory has always supported multi-modal communications and now we have the technology to accomplish it. In addition to painting, photography or sculpture, media such as MacroMind Director, Hypercard, electronic games, CD-I, 3D0 and virtual reality systems may be relevant choices for artists. The future expression of ideas will require a layered, multi-modal strategy that elaborates and gives the user choices and the opportunity to participate. Simple two-dimensional images may have difficulty finding a place in cyberspace.

The plastic arts have referred to traditional sources for their theory and inspiration. Modernism embraced Marxism while Post Modernism welcomes Neitzche back. The cyberpunks have created their own set of philosophers, all of which are found in the Science Fiction section of the library. Asimov, Pohl, Arthur C. Clark and Robert Heinlein are some. "If Marvin Minsky had his way, there would always be a visiting science fiction writer in residence at the Media Lab." Will the artist who chooses to work in the Cybersphere have to pay closer attention to science fiction to better understand its roots? Can Marx and Azimov co-exist?

How involved should artists become in the technology of the cyberspace? In the past many artists have been content to have a technician organize the technical processes of art production. Although the artist may not have had the technical skill to complete the task he usually understood the process as it related to his artistic needs. However, to participate in the cyberspace community it may demand a greater level of technical commitment. Alan Kay pointed out that the computer is not a medium but rather a meta-medium. In other words, with a computer you can create media. Artists have previously been in the habit of simply adopting the materials and tools created by engineers and the industrial production system. MIT's MediaMoo is a good example of a cyberspace reality that is being created through technical knowledge, interest from a wide range of "characters", social interaction, and some artistry. Future virtual realities will require equal amounts artistic and technical input. It will be most effective if artists can express their artistry through a strong understanding of technology. In fact, artists will be excluded from many potential interesting environments if they do not develop the technical skills to communicate in the new electronic world.

Jaron Lanier says that we can use "post-symbolic" communication to create shared realities. A virtual reality system will create a beach when we say: "Let's go for a swim". Instead of using symbols to describe the beach, we create an electronic version of a real beach. Symbolism, which is the key to semiotic interpretations of our culture may find new roles in visual communication. Whenever we use a system that constructs new realities, then the established cultural symbols or icons, which are short cuts to perception, may become pass or boring. Any reference to past cultural symbols would immediately signify fantasy. Artists will have to look past much of our visual and semiotic heritage to construct credible virtual worlds.

Computers, networks, and the machines that they exchange information with are multiplying at an incredible rate. They are constructing a new set of possibilities and destroying others. The traditional artist who is interested in entering the cyberworld will have to make many changes. The creative environment is abstract and dematerialized. Your ideas will be neatly reconstructed into uniform bits ready to be radiated throughout the system. Although you will have many opportunities to distribute your work around the world it will not receive the hallowed treatment reserved for gallery exhibitions. It will compete freely with countless images, interactive programs, video, digitized audio, games, and people.

You will start to read science fiction. You will try to find the best service bureau to make hard copies your photos, graphics, and sculpture projects. You will find creative partners in Ethiopia.

You will take up computer programming so that you can create new real estate in a Florida MOO. You will drop sculpting and take up MacroMind Director. You will forget about cultural symbols and icons. You will save hard for a VVD display system. You will not need expensive real estate because you can watch your virtual reality beach.

Chapter One - Media and Advertising

What is the role of technology in the media? The media has traditionally been a way of conveying events ( political, entertainment, human interest ) to the public at large. The media is in the information business and relies heavily on technology to transmit information from one place to another. Today, we tend to think of technology with a sort of high - tech this is so modern day attitude. That technology is the wave of the future is evident but it is important to recognize that technology is also a part of our past, and understand the relationships between past technology with that of today. Technology was the wave of the future thousands of years ago, technology is like another word for progress, synonymous with advancement or moving forward in time, technology is the newest and the latest and is a habitual quest of mankind to increase his/her capabilities in his/her environment. Domestication of crops was technology, what about fire - the greatest invention of all? Technology has always been a driving force in the history of the human race and with technology a desire for communication is also deeply rooted in our collective heritage. People have made illustrations and created writing systems to communicate and document their histories. Language was also created for smoother communication and has become increasingly complex. As the world has increased so has it s level of communication. The media as we know it largely developed in the wake of modern technology. Before radio, telegraphs, planes and trains, the world relayed events to other parts of the world through human travellers and by letter which would have gone by carriage or boat. With the radio, events of significance (for whatever reason) could be broadcast worldwide within a few short hours. With the invention of planes came aerial warfare and the real possibility that a country thousands of miles away had the practical means of invasion and conquest of your own homeland. Enter: the media. People then and now relied on the media, the radio, the telegraph and later their television to receive information they now considered critical to their existence. Out of newspaper advertising developed radio and later T.V. commercials - the point at which media and advertising became inexplicably and forever linked in popular culture. So where does that leave the media in the modern world? Should the media have to maintain a moral responsibility to the public? What are the attitudes of the public to the media? How many people are unaware of the biases and often self - serving motives that are prevalent in media or newsgroups today? The resources that the media have been able to utilize in the twentieth century have changed the face of advertising indefinitely, and unfortunately deception is unavoidable.At this point in time many people are still unaware of the resources available to the media and because of this widespread ignorance are oblivious to the manipulation of their minds and psyche by powerful mega-bucks-money-hungry manufacturers and corporations. An excellent example of this mindless manipulation in advertising where technology has been utilized would be photo - manipulation or perhaps plastic surgery. Combined, the use of these two areas in conjunction with advertising are one the leading contributors in the continuing lack of self - esteem of women in North America. The widespread image of the idealized woman is often created through technology : elaborate and painstaking make -up, photo manipulation through lighting, airbrushing, touch ups, varied films and high contrast filters; these can all be used to create a false image - one which is unfortunately high sought after and is in most cases unattainable. The cause of this disastrous situation cannot be blamed on the high - tech features that are available in present day, aerial warfare cannot be blamed on the invention of planes. People so often place the blame of an unfortunate situation on technology because it is crucial to the existence of the situation - the situation is dependant on the invention; it is human nature that develops and determines the course an advancement in technology will take.

Chapter Two - Interconnectedness

As technology increases, communication also increases and with these increases follows a sense of interconnection. Connectedness should be the opposite of isolation, but they are, in some ways very closely related. I will show this relationship as it exists in a narrative; a day in the life of a fictitious character - Mr. TypaLot.

A Day in the Life of Mr. Typalot

                 by b. bigelow
 Mr. Typalot lives in the suburbs of Vancouver, in Delta, B.C.

He lives in nice home in a prestigious area with his wife and 2.2 children. He works in the city, and has to commute each today. He leaves his house at 7:40 every morning to make the commute to Vancouver. He takes his briefcase (laptop computer inside), his cellular phone, and a mug of fresh, automatic-machine-made coffee. His commute though lengthy, goes quickly because he spends much of his time talking on the phone (usually to other colleagues also on their way to work).Mr. Typalot is perhaps a researcher, an advertising executive, or maybe a systems analyst. He types a lot, mostly into his Unix at work, his laptop, or at his Macintosh in his den at home. When he isn t typing, he is talking, sometimes on a telephone, sometimes not. Mr. Typalot communicates with people all over the world everyday via. e - mail, fax, phone and answering machines, and through virtual reality set-ups such as MediaMOO. He develops all kinds of relationships with people in the course of his day, but he is also everyday increasing his relationship with inaminate devices. It can not be avoided, in his relationship building with other people it is necessary for him to interact with machines - it is a necessity of his success in the workplace. Mr. Typalot is isolated in a indirect way everyday. Each day for several hours he is deprived of any sensory stimulation that is not available to him through his terminal or workstation. Mr, Typalot is experiencing sensory isolation. The narrative of Mr. Typalot is a generic example of what many people in the workplace experience. Mr. Typalot is perhaps more extreme than the norm but as communications in technology advance, more and more people will have workdays that fit this description. This type of connectedness or advanced communication has ups as well as downs - the downside involves a lack of direct, or face-to-face contact, and a loss of the more human side or traditional interaction between people. On the up side, is the opportunity to engage in a virtual reality experience; to participate in a highly imaginative and creative realm which I could only previously describe as becoming deeply involved with a very intensely written novel. These text based virtual realities, such as MediaMoo are highly creative and intellectually stimulating - as well as fun. They can be a good alternative to traditional reading because the player can actually participate and contribute to the story . Virtual Realities might ce beneficial in educating children and adults - making learning enjoyable and interesting. They might also contribute to a higher self esteem in children/teenagers as they maintain some type of control, responsibility, and exercise their ability to produce. On the other hand, V.R.s could be less than beneficial to some individuals as they might become more drawn into the V.R. than might be perceived as healthy. I sometimes envision a situation similar to the Dungeon and Dragon scenario where in several cases the individuals involved with the game had a difficult time distinguishing between real life and fantasy . The bottom line is that each individual is different and will react to virtual realities in their own way; that a few select cases cannot determine the outcome of thousands of others.

Chapter Two - Interconnectiveness

Part Two - The Role of Technology in the Lives of Special Needs People.

Technology can go along way in contributing to the quality of lifestyle in the lives of those with special needs. For the deaf, the computer can be a fabulous way of communicating and reaching out to others. Autistic people who at times may have difficulty interacting with other people often are very skilled, and enjoy working at a computer workstation. People confined to a wheelchair have many more career opportunities than ever before thanks to the computer and a continuing growth of more sophisticated software. In the instance of a brother of a friend mine ( we ll call him Jim), the computer has literally been his salvation. After a severe car accident, Jim lost the movement of both legs - he will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Jim comes from a family of artists and before his accident he was a working artist painting in a traditional sense. Now Jim works with computer graphics - doing freelance and contract work. New software has made it easier, and more convenient for people like Jim to continue working. There are many fields to work in , ie. research, data entry, etc. In the case of special needs children - those with learning disabilities or the developmentally delayed; a constant stimulus is one of the most important factors in the mental ( and physical) development. Traditionally, this constant stimulus has been provided by support workers, but lack of funding ( gov t and private) often leads to special needs children not receiving the one on one stimulus they need and deserve. While the computer might not be considered an adequate substitute for human stimulus, it would still be better than nothing and would probably make a positive contribution to the development of the child. Children are drawn to computers - to the bright colors, movement and sound emote from them. Unlike television, computers can be more interactive and will encourage and prompt a child to participate. I don t know where computer stimulus will lead, but certainly it is better for the intellectual growth - and even motor skills than most of the programs children watch on T.V. The same can be applied to special needs adults, for while these individuals are in the body of an adult, often their intellectual development hasn t caught up - has been delayed in some way and stimulus and prompts are still essential to their intellectual growth.

Chapter Three - Technology and Tradition

Part One: Technology and Tradition

The increases in technology have made communicating in the twentieth century easier and more convenient than ever before. Electronic mail, faxes, cellular phones and virtual realities drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to get a message/or important documents to an individual. Electronic mail takes away the envelope, the stamp and the whole structure of the traditional mail system. There is no pick, transporting the letter to a sortation plant and sorting of the letter before the eventual delivery ( of which won,t be in the recipient s hands until he/she gets home from work,etc. E -mail is practical, but will eventually eliminate a characteristic of the weekday as many people experience it. Coming home to an unexpected card or letter is a pleasant surprise which would be virtually eliminated in an electronic mail system. Letters or cards would probably be received at work in the course of the day, and would be on a screen - not paper. Paper cards,invitations etc. might still be sent out (perhaps by private,entrepreunial companies) as a sort of novelty or maybe on a special occasion. What about wedding invitations and gold embossed papers? How could one put a wedding invitation into a photo album if the invitation was on the screen? ( I guess you could always print out a copy). These small characteristics of everyday life will probably in the future be altered to fit into a world where modern technology has spread into every aspect of our existence. Are there areas that the notions of convenience and practicality should not enter into? Areas of our lives that are considered sacred and should be protected and preserved from the invasion of the driving force called technology?

Chapter Three - Technology and Tradition

Part Two: Technology in the Home.

Technology has always affected the home. The Refrigator,

electronic oven, and electrical lighting are a far cry from a gas lamp illuminated kitchen and a wood burning stove. The washer and dryer, disposable diapers and running water have freed up plenty of time for more enjoyable pursuits like going for walks or visiting friends but in many instances just listening to the radio or watching television. We are surrounded by technology always - modern techno conveniences such as the telephone (portable,cellular, or other) the microwave, toasters, coffee makers, VCRS and camcorders. The computer will have more impact in the home than any other techno convenience since the television.( or Nintendo). The computer will contribute both to the organization and the entertainment/leisure activities in the home -catapulting into a nucleic role which the household could quite possibly revolve around in the future. Through the computer a family, individual, etc. could have access to more information than they could ever hope to tread upon - never mind absorption. Miscellaneous tasks and activities such as going out to get a newspaper, borrow a book from the library,get a video or play arcade games could be fulfilled by simply sitting in front of keyboard and screen. It is hard to predict what the outcome of discontinuing traditional activity might be - or if it will happen at all. The potential is real and the outcome might be disastrous. Even a general recognmition by society to admit and understand this;that the computer in the home and workplace is potentially harmful to our continued existence, might go a long way in preserving whatever integrity we have left.

Chapter Four - Art and Architecture: The Role of Technology

There is a big difference between computer generated art and

art that exists solely in the computer. Computer generated art can still be accessed in the traditional way, it can hang on your walls at home - it can be displayed in a gallery or reproduced in a book.In this way the art is not dependant on the computer for it's existence - it can retain an identity seperate from the computer. In these instances the computer is like a tool the artist has used to create his/her work, just like a camera, or a tablesaw. With art that exists solely within the computer, the images can only be viewed via the computer and nowhere else. It is a permanent attachment to the piece and it is therefore an integral element of the work itself. This type of art is different from traditional art or even independant computer generated art because it's focus or motives are related to communications in a different way - an area of communications which is void of the physical and tangible.This difficult concept of relaying ideas and information can be thought of as a large base of information, compiled of the thoughts and interests of thousands of people.

What is the role of the artist within this base of information,

and how will the role of the artist change as a result of technology? Who is the artist? The artist is foremost a designer; a person who conceives ideas and then attempts to communicate those ideas (sometimes to themselves and sometimes to others)by representing the ideas in a physical expression. What the expression will be depends on the the designer. If the designer is a musician the expression might be a musical score, if the designer is an architect than probably a building plan. There are several advantages to working within a large information base that over a 100 000 000 million people have access to ( ie. the Internet).The exposure is tremendous and the opportunity to make contacts and to to relay ideas is anyone's speculation. The electronic art gallery is to the artist today what television would have been to the actor who was previously only viewed in live theater. In presenting to the masses through an electronic network an expression of an idea the artist is able to convey and communicate thoughts on a widespread level - but to what level of efficiency? Is something lost in the philosophy if the artist is able to communicate the the idea to a broad audience but only in general terms? Is it better to communicate a fuller understanding of a concept to a limited people instead of a general idea to thousands? This question can only be answered by the individual - each artist having their personal agenda which dictates their actions and motivates their work.

It is up to us, the designers and artists to determine and

shape our changing role along with the advancement of technology. What else can we do? We are forced to go with the flow and utilize technology to prevent our obsolescence. Technology and job displacement go hand in hand and the artist and designer are not an exception. With more and more sophisticated software many kinds of work in the design industry could easily be sifted out in the future. Graphic artists, architects, industrial designers could in all like likelihood be eliminated in future society. Think of past tradesmen (tradesperson) who no longer have a place in the world due to technological advancement and new invention? How many shoemakers have you met recently? The shoemaker was a tradesman - a designer of a kind and is a scarcity in modern day. Of course the machine made/pre-fab shoes can never match the quality of a leather shoe cut and measured specifically to the individual's foot. One of a kind shoes- each with their own identity; a product and design from start to finish of the individual designer and his/her original vision. The fact is if it is good enough, if it will get the job done (at least satisfactorally) then it will be accepted by the masses;leaving little room for the creativity and ingenuity of the individual designer. A balance needs to be struck between designer and computer - a blance where the computer is a tool for the designer and not the designer itself. Architects and draftspeople now have the unique advantage of being able to conjure up their changing visions quicker than they could possible recreate an intricate drawing by hand.These quickly redrawn views however, only remain an advantage to the architect etc. if the designer is still the motivating factor behind the design and is the major contributor to the end result.


                       Preinventing the Wheel
   Have you had enough of magazine articles and other essays

whose titles play on the word "virtual?" Articles with names like "Virtual Virtuoso" or " Virtually now" or "Virtigo." I thought as much. Virtual reality is getting very tired, and it doesn't even exist yet. It has been able to avoid fading out of public view for this long because of its' name, which sounds sufficiently official, and at the same time vague enough to allow its' use in context with anything one thinks is neat-o. In the forties, there was a similar craze for things whose existence was in question, and it also had a misleading name that made people sound clever. That name is Existentialism, and before it became popular, it actually meant something. But it was only taken seriously after a couple hundred people who hadn't bothered to find out its' meaning were put in situations where they had to pretend that they had- hey, presto- 200 false definitions! This confusion is happening to virtual reality, only not so romantically as it did in post-war France. A few months ago I had dinner with a good friend. As we ate he asked me to explain to him what the whole deal on virtual reality is and I told him, more or less, that it is the idea of general purpose simulation, and went on to explain that simulators of this sort need detectors to sense body motions or speech, devices to stimulate our senses of sight, hearing, touch, etc., and a computer to connect everything and vary the interaction according to programs. Then I felt obliged to rehash the monologue about the many possibilities of the potential medium, and did, but my friend, who is an Economics major, just laughed, "Is that all it is, a glorified video-game?! You actually study that kind of stuff at school? I heard all this talk on how important it is!" He had been impressed by the virtual Paul Reveres, the virtual exaggerators, the virtual newspaper columns with titles like this. It is truly a pity that the term 'virtual reality' isn't used sparingly, and that 'the study of simulation' or some like phrase doesn't get all the attention. Simulators already exist. Because of all this hype, virtual reality is being made to sound a lot more important than it is. Virtual reality is being treated like some radical new science. Ad agencies are cashing in on its' commerciality and confusing the general population with the meaning of the term. Fans of virtual reality are trying to convince people that its' dawn is ridiculously near and thus that its' study is pertinent. Other virtual reality enthusiasts are preaching that virtual reality is "the way" and will end racial inequality and give the repressed a voice. Just as preposterously, academics are solemnly warning that virtual reality will create a nation of violent thugs. Others warn of "virtual-reality addictions," seriously; "virtual-reality addictions." It is sad that a promising technology has been taken over before it has even reached a concrete stage, by a bunch of clowns.

   The driving forces behind virtual reality have been around

for all of human history so why is it considered such a radical concept? When flight simulation programs started appearing a few years ago for home computers, a lot of folks bought them (after all, they were pretty neat) but few sat around yakking about how those programs were "interactive" as though the word were a drop from the fountain of profundity. Hell, even a pinball machine is interactive. What about "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, the books that let kids make a decision by picking one of two pages every so often? What kind of novelty is there in trying to fake the world around us: We started with cave paintings, then sophisticated paints until we had realistic oils, then the still photographic camera, the record player, motion pictures, talkies and what could be more virtual than telephones; the technology which Bell invented to allow an entire nation of people to consider talking to banana-shaped objects on street corners a normal part of life. Theatre is a form of virtual reality as well. Some like to think that the V.R. will "enlarge our minds" by making us more imaginative. As though we haven't now any activities requiring imagination. V.R. is not the first; it is an element of many games, from Chess through to Scruples. Of all the things V.R. could be compared to, it is strange that one hears of the similarities of V.R. and the telephone less often than V.R. and narcotics. This is the kind of talk that makes V.R. out to be larger than life. There is a difference between drug-use and any-old-thing that happens to be bizarre and illogical. That is why we as a species have been spared an addiction to the writings of Marshall Macluan. V.R. is not a new concept.

   Virtual reality is also kept well in the public eye by

advertising firms. These firms are resourceful enough to have found a word associated with V.R. to advertise services or products in a manner that will make them sound as though they are on the cutting edge of technology, regardless of the truth. I have already mentioned the word they use. The word is "interactive" and it is plastered on everything from phone-sex, to standard phone-in talk shows, to magazines and automobiles and children's toys. It is generally assumed that inter-active is entertaining but who of us really wants to leave our couch to phone a television station half way through a program. People watch television to relax. The same goes for reading, listening to music and looking at pictures. Being interactive isn't all that thrilling. One spends all one's life in an interactive world. A lot of it even bores one. Being inter-active is not necessarily being virtual. It would be kind if advertising agencies would not try to convince us otherwise. No, we will have to wait a few years for real reality-simulators.

   How many years? "In the near future," is the standard

phrase. How near? The people who vigilantly claim that V.R. will be perfected in the next ten years are generally the same people who talk a lot about terra-forming Mars and making it habitable. However true it may be that all geniuses are dreamers, it is not true that all dreamers are geniuses. Some are only poor, misguided Dr. Who fans. Let's just say it takes thirty years to develop a graphics system that can display at 24 fps, with photographic resolution, a stereoscopic alterable landscape- which would take an insane amount of memory. We'll also say that by that time we'll have the capability to transmit at real time the colossal amount of data needed to hook a V.R. machine up to a network. Then we'll assume (this is more reasonable) that we'll have a perfectly light-weight, comfortable bodysuit that won't make one look like a scuba-diver wearing a bicycle helmet. Hey, they won't be available to everyone. They won't come cheap. It will take a long while for virtual reality systems to made compatible. It will be a while for a decent net to cover the globe. But let's say that it will take around 50 years for V.R. machines to become common household items. As loose as any figure based on unprovable guesses must be, 50 years seems like a reasonable number. What is all the excitement about then? No current virtual reality- type products, from war games to video-games, come near to giving a convincingly real feeling. Just because virtual reality may be right around the corner doesn't mean we'll see it next year. It's quite possible that half of us will be dead by the time virtual reality amounts to something.

   Some people in these times hold the opinion that V.R. will

be a great social instrument. Sure, after Nintendo rolls a few tens of thousands of Virtualboys off the assembly line everything will be jolly. No more wars, no more intolerance. Neo-Nazi Skinheads will plug in and suddenly turn into nice, decent fellows and fall to their knees to beg forgiveness from the minority groups they have been terrorizing an hour before. The idea is that since people would have the ability to conceal their identity while using a net we would all be tolerant and understanding. This would be a compelling argument were it not for the telephone which already allows us this service.If V.R. evolves in a similar manner, it will end up with individuals choosing only to contact close friends. And I know that's not what the V.R. enthusiasts want. And I know they want it to be a wild and crazy medium. But there are a lot of folks in the world. Business people, for example, would get use out of V.R. by using it for long-distance conferences or perhaps for models of products, or real estate. They would not find it useful to pretend to be a Virtual-prawn on the Cyberspace-Oceanfloor Network. People could do a lot of things on V.R. networks, not all of them brotherly. Thanks to V.R. it would be a lot easier for racist people to form world-wide organizations.. they could congregate daily if they chose. It is just about as likely that V.R. will correct the world's problems as it is that a crumpet will corrupt a swinging mallet. On the other hand V.R. will not spell a return to the dark ages.

   The idea is that someday children will be weaned on V. R.

sets. They will get used to regularly lopping off virtual heads and so, when they grow older, they'll be conditioned, see, and they'll go nuts and they'll lop off real peoples heads. No matter how much you show people that there is no evidence to support the claim that there is a correlation between violence in the media and violence in real life they just don't learn. For once and for all, violence in the media is a good thing because it teaches children to distinguish between fact and fiction. And so long as it remains possible to tell when you are "virtual" and when you are real there is no problem. We will never create V.R. so effective that it is exactly the same as real life, we will always be able to notice something unrealistic about it, perhaps the way things sound, maybe the quality of light, it would certainly be virtually impossible to convincingly eat virtual food or have a perfect sense of touch.

   The most ridiculous overestimation of V.R. is that the whole

world will become obsessed with V.R. and abandon the outside world forever. This is very poetic but unfortunately there are a couple little problems with this theory. Like, for example, eating. Or will V.R. be so amazing that people just won't get hungry. Oh, there is also some difficulty in respect to paying the hydro bill when you spend all of your time in V.R. and therefore have no time to work. Most people for V.R. or against V.R. tend to wildly exaggerate the importance of V.R. Remember the stories there used to be about computers? The only people who will ever be addicted to Virtual Reality already are, those are the people like Commander Rick on Prisoners of Gravity, the kind of fools who write poetry about "cyberspace."

   Virtual reality does have a lot of potential; to take up

where the telephone leaves off, to amuse and entertain, to design, and a whole lot more. What is annoying is to see history endlessly rehashing itself. People have always exaggerated with new inventions from film to space travel. It is ludicrous that virtual reality is treated as such a unique, modern concept. It has roots in the trend in Western culture since the Dark ages of more and more realistic art and it has roots in the production of various modern simulators. It is ridiculous the way ad agencies through around the term "interactive," in order to confuse people into associating it with virtual reality. It is ridiculous that virtual reality is being talked about this much when it probably won't take off until another half century. It is ridiculous to attribute spectacular moral consequences to virtual reality, either good or terrible. It is particularly silly to predict slaves to entertainment when no such preposterous phenomena has ever existed before. It is a field too easy to romanticize. It is easy to think of all the possibilities, and easier to forget that most of them will never be realized. Virtual reality is already a fashion statement, an advertising ploy, a moral issue, and a constant subject in magazines. With all the attention one would think we were reinventing the wheel.

           Notes on the use of the computer in art.  
           by D. Venables
    The computer is a tool, a fancy tool, but just a tool.  In

the hands of a person who makes art, it can be used to make art…the REAL kind of art. The pencil is a tool, a simple tool, but just a tool. In the hands of a person who makes art, it can be used to make art…the REAL kind of art. Perhaps if the majority of the computer art we see is pretty dismal, it is because the tool has not yet found the right hands.

    Contemporary culture and the place technology has in it.  

A loaded statement. Contemporary culture "is" technology. At least in our privileged neck of the woods. Taking this course has been akin to the experience of buying a Volkswagen and then noticing them wherever you go. I now see the use of computer systems where I was once blind to them, in every facet of our lives. A technology this pervasive must surely be adopted by the artists among us. The avant-garde will never die. The avant-garde will continually rear its unusual head where it's least expected. It is the evidence of evolution, the flower on the plant of science.

(Even as late as dadaism, Marcel Duchamp noticed the relation of the avant-garde to the practice of the consumer-that the product of the avant-garde was to have the same characteristics of planned obsolescence/mass production as the products of mass consumption while simultaneously allowing the producer/artist to register shock at being reduced to a machine.) Discussed in Manfredo Tafuri, Architecture and Utopia: Design and Capitalist Development (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1976).

  Maybe notes on what art is (I guess we have to have some kind

of a definition before we can tell if computers can be a part of it) would be in order. A discretionary and biased viewpoint follows.

   After spending the last couple of years focusing entirely on

photography, I came into this course, wide-open, and ready for new ideas, primed by a lecture by photographer Jeff Wall, who showed a selection of his older work and also a couple of his new pieces, done via computer graphics. This fired my imagination. Little did I know at the time that Jeff was in the habit of traveling to Los Angeles and renting the computer lab there in Hollywood which has all the heavy artillery used in huge special effects productions. The pieces he produced were of high quality due to the level of the technology he was using, although the work he had done could have been accomplished through traditional photographic technique.

   Using "mind bicycles"  for photography is advantageous in

that the cost to the environment is considerably less, ie. the chemicals poured down the sink (and forgotten in a frenzy of photographic creativity) make their way into the rivers, oceans, air, animals and eventually back to us in some form or another (perhaps while walking on the shore at midnight the phosphorescence will suddenly, strangely, have you thinking of Calvin Kline models). The immediate health of the artist is threatened less during computer use than during the photographic process as well. It is cleaner to use than almost any other art material or tool.

   Thinking that a two month course was plenty of time in which

to master the art of photo-manipulation, I gaily traipsed into class to make some art.


  One of my definitions of  art  is, art as a verb... the act

of doing it. After the doing part is done, what s left is a fossil, a mere artifact of the real thing which is art. The art-things sitting in galleries, on walls, piled up in basements are records and interesting as records of the metamorphosis and working out of a thought or feeling.

   Art is sometimes thought of as a didactic, instructive sort

of exercise; or, conversely purely decorative. These types of art to me are dead, they leave no-where for the viewer to exercise his or her own thought processes.

    The viewer is assumed to be in one of two states, with it

or not with it. In it or out of it. Hip or square. If privy to the current presumed cutting edge theme being presented by this instructive art, the viewer can nod sagely and agree; if not connected to the same stream of thought, there is room for instruction. This is claustrophobic and limiting, it stagnates and is retentive.

   At this point I have a sneaking suspicion that much of the

art making using computer technology is of this sort, a parading of technique, a bragging and telling how the look of reality can be changed. This has a tendency to dazzle and dictate a certain look , this kind of rigid template is an open invitation to the avant-garde, the art pirates, the art-hacker.

"The stimuli of the modern world, sounds and sights are reproduced and distributed through endless systems of linear technology. (The more intimate senses were long ago excluded from this order.) Stereo and video are recorded onto tape, that opaque blackish substance that symbolizes the intransigent, incomprehensible linear time of this universe. Computers and record players use flat disks whose spiral roadways reflect the circularity of their contents. All visual and aural information¥speech over the telephone, the television picture, computer data¥is encoded into lines of electronic information. The linear becomes language. The arcane discipline of electronic circulation now guards the gates of the senses.

   The proliferation of the computer is the development that

most insures the closure of this system.. In the computer, we see physically affirmed, as if by an independent source, all the assumptions of linear thought. Conversely, the computer ignores all utterances not made according to the rules of its own linear code. With the advent of private computer use, the computer becomes an oracle of instruction in the structures of the linear. It gives instruction in how t write and how to conduct business¥but according to its own linear rules. It is even deployed to indoctrinate children into the ways of the linear. Further, as greater and greater amounts of society s information (both financial and intellectual) are stored in computers, even the reluctant are coerced into dealing with the computer and its pattern of thought."

Peter Halley, On Line New Observations, no. 35 (1985). Blasted Allegories; 1987. The New Museum of Contemporary Art and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

   Virtual reality moves art and art making into a realm of

endless possibility. Freed from the confines of a small screen, this new dimension, for me is so broad it is almost impossible to speak of. Sculpture you can crawl into, ride, even travel through for what seems like miles, interactive installations. Perhaps this is the new direction in art we were waiting for. This will influence, and enrich the traditional art practices as well as consumerism in society–art and consumerism–a well known couple about town.

   The credibility of  that which is seen on a screen  (which,

to most people is accepted as the truth) can be used to manipulate and fool the viewer. This is not a bad thing, a touch of healthy suspicion would be a welcome attribute in the general public.

PIMPING THE REALITY PRINCIPLE -MONDO MAG (1993) Angry, disillusioned and media-savvy, the newly discovered twenty-something generation is shaping up to a very hard sell. ¥Debra Goldman, ADWEEK Belief in advertising is not like breathing. It doesn t come naturally; it must be taught. ¥Edwin L. Artzt, Proctor & Gamble CEO It s got to be real. ¥Levi s 501 jeans, advertisement

And then there is the ephemeral, the part of art that comes when you least expect it.

Some things we plan.

We sit and we invent
and we plot and cook up
Others are works of inspiration
Of poetry
And it was this genius hand 
That pushed me up the hotel stairs
To say my last good-bye. 
   ((DEBBIES ASIDE: (private thoughts on the act of communal

art on three screens at a time)

   Although its hard for me to communicate verbally vocally,

easier if writing

   taking turns-- quick repartee isn t my bag.

interesting to communicate well, more efficient felt like we were in touch-))

  On a more practical note, the strongest impression I' m left

with from taking this course is the feeling of entry into the rest of the world.

Especially here in Victoria, I've felt isolated, and

increasingly so the longer I m here and the more time I spend at school. In the past I ve always been able to take off for jaunts into the states, around Canada or Mexico, but in the last few years I have lead an increasingly parochial life. It was a thing I feared right from the first when I moved here, and then it came true. I' m sure this sense of isolation is not my very own domain, isolation is a major theme of our society at this point and it is my belief that technology in all its myriad forms has contributed to this. The ability to lead a completely vicarious life, containing excitement beyond the potential of most people, is available to anyone with a television, VCR, six-pack and a couple of joints. (oh ya, a video..fantasy of choice)

   This isolation is endemic.  The T.V. screen which lives in

almost every home is a constant friend, requiring no effort, seemingly giving companionship and in reality taking away the ability to enjoy real personal contact. As well, a study has shown persons who watch a "normal" amount of television suffer from lack of REM sleep time, in other words, they don't dream. Dreaming is a necessary part of a healthy life and the loss of this ability must have a severe, though perhaps subtle effect on the person.

    In contrast with my first thoughts of the  virtual meeting

places as making yet another barrier between people, (much like television, probably because they re both boxes that plug into the wall), I see them now as a link, a possible tool for fusion, although far from perfect, especially in that it precludes a vast amount of people from becoming part of this new community for economic reasons. I would like to think that with the growing availability of the Internet, email and other network communication systems, the unity that is created by the exchange of thoughts and feelings will provide a humanitarian spring-board and with the growing communication between people all over the world (I can hear music surging in the background…I d like to buy the world a coke…lalala) perhaps a true global consciousness will arise. Or the consciousness already in place will become more compassionate through increased knowledge and familiarity. Art will fit in there (does already), a picture is worth a thousand words…and takes up a lot more space…

   The ability to have free, almost immediate communication

with people who are far away is extremely satisfying.

   The level playing field of electronic communication on

Internet is seductive. I, and most people, don't reveal gender, age, race, social standing while having these exchanges and it is not necessary. This has got to be a good thing.

   The  downside  of this connection is the potentially

intrusive nature of the electronic net, a net we could all be caught in like little smelts with credit cards, Until the end of the World explored both these aspects fully, the connection kept people in close contact if they so desired and made it very hard to hide.

   Back to my personal story.  A testimonial.  Dredged in

isolation (and I mean dredging in the culinary sense, the way your mother used to dredge chicken pieces in flour and spices before frying) I of course turned to the television and began one of those marathon, epic debaucheries of avoidance. Well, I was dragged from my reverie of watching the passive screen to the more engaging activity of watching the computer screen, ah….a screen that talks back. I m not exaggerating when I say I miss the computer room during the weekends.

  For me, with my limited resources, the computer works best

for communication purposes, text, at this point is the medium of choice.

Computer art is verbal art right now. Making traditional art is, to me, usually a pretty solitary activity. It is also a physical one, I enjoy the feel of the materials, the smell, being able to hold the art, move it around. Because I use my senses, it is sensual. Because it is sensual, there is also a realm of sexuality. The move from three dimensional art to trying to make something that I could call art, on a screen, that I couldn t touch or change the shape of unless I kept within the limited dimensions, was frustrating to say the least. Perhaps, now that the form is not so foreign to me and I have a real desire to see what I can do with this thing, and more time; I ll be able to explore the visual aspects more fully. This is only the beginning.

There is no conclusion.  My world has been made larger.  I have

barely experienced an introduction to this new art tool. I m hooked.

* * (These are the incoherant rantings of a young man driven over the edge by a word processing program. Please proceed with caution.) * *

   WordPerfect ate my essay, and my brain
   Neil Barman
   Brad Brace
   June 18, 1993
   The last time I spent a serious duration in front of a

computer was in grade six. I was twelve years old and the elementary school I attended had purchased four Apple II's. With so few computers at their disposal they were forced to choose an elite group of students who would be privileged enough have access to the new technology. I was chosen to be among the "lucky" ones.

   We set out with task of learning Basic. I quickly learned

how to write a program that would spew an annoying pattern of numbers down the screen. I also learned how to do math equations on the computer, but I already had a calculator that made quick work of those and fit in my pocket too. We were given almost no guidance mainly due to the fact that there was none to be given. Nobody really knew very much about computers, with a few exceptions.

   Two young brainiacs named Adrian Evans and David Burridge

knew what they were doing. They had computers at home, the very same ones that were at school. They wrote cute little programs that would do this or that. Programs so inconsequential I can't even remember them now. But they knew how to do it. They also made it their business to remind me that I did not know what I was doing. They would talk computer lingo and laugh at how perplexed I would get. They would point and whisper and giggle as I would try to explain to the teacher why I was so confused. I had no clue why we were doing what we were doing. I was given no assistance in that department. The "computer education" program continued and I continued to be bewildered.

   Basically Adrian and David were geeks flaunting their

computer literacy. I knew that and I tried not to let their intimidation get to me. It did in any case. I opted out of the computing program. I figured they were far more trouble than they were worth. I avoided them like the plague.

   Ten years later, I have decided to re-acquaint myself with

the machine called computer. A class called "Art and Technology: Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction" seemed like it would be a good start since I already have a pretty good grasp of the art part. Combining art with computer technology sounded like a fascinating progression. Since I make art, I was curious as to how I could use computers in my art-making process. As it turns out, the software that is available right now is of almost no use to me. While it can be enjoyable and amusing to manipulate photographs and paint on electronic canvases, it still seems like it's more trouble than it's worth. I have been told, however, that these boxes come in handy.

   The work that I am doing at present, which is mostly

photography, has too much basis in reality. It is about the way we live. It is about the way we build and develop the areas where we live and how we make those places as ours. It is about many aspects of being a person. I have not found a way for the software to provide me with any assistance. I work with other peoples' senses of self and creativity. While someone is probably writing a program that will simulate these things, I'm not interested. I thrive on interaction with real people, they never cease to amaze me.

   While computer software itself has not provided me with 

inspiration, the Internet has. At first what felt like a mystical society of computers around the globe is now a different dimension of worldly consciousness. Quantum mechanics is busy trying to prove the existence of alternate dimensions; I've been exploring one for the last eight weeks. It is the dimension of information and communication.

   It seemed like an incredibly difficult task at first, much

like learning Basic when I was in grade six. This time however there were no computer geeks around to hamper the learning process. I was all on my own. With only a guide book to chart my course I have been able to "go" all around the world. I have gained access to a seemingly endless supply of information. Text is definitely the most powerful medium here. I have found other forms of information, sound and images for example, but text is the only one that has been able to feed me satisfactorily in this dimension. Text has given me the knowledge to explore further. With more exploration comes more text, comes more knowledge… This may not seem like a breakthrough discovery to most, but it was to me. The text not only pushes me in new directions around the Internet, it has charged my imagination. I am fascinated with the possibilities of this new dimension.

   I have been able to converse with people all over the world.

The very same people I would love to interact with in person but am unable to because of distance. Connectivity over the Net has been the next best thing I suppose, but it is a far cry from the real interaction that fuels my art. I have found it intriguing to no end but it hasn't given me anything. Yet. I expect that communication on the Internet will be very much like regular social interactions people have nowadays. You go to places you like. You avoid other places. You meet many people. You keep in touch with a few. Friendships grow and you learn from each other. The thing that has been somewhat of a shock has been the relearning, from scratch, of all things dealing with social interaction. You must relearn the processes of travel and conversation. There is no bus route for the Internet and you can't laugh out loud.

   The arena of the MOO seems to provide a bridge between

reality and Jaron Lanier's vision of VR and communication as one. Though they are only text-based at the moment they are headed in the right direction. Their possibilities for character interaction extend only as far as they can be programmed. In addition to this, if you want to see how you interact with another character, you must visualize it in your head. The same goes for sounds and smells. The ideal vision of VR has all sensory inputs virtualized. I would probably be an excellent guinea pig for a perfectionistic VR developer. You see, I suffer (or , as I like to think, am privileged to suffer) from a condition I call hyper-awareness. Anything and everything my five senses can take in they do. This is usually a pleasing substitute for the drugs I've never done though overloads do happen. It can make driving a little difficult. I find the Moo's acceptable, but not enough to tweak my senses, which enjoy reality far too much.

   On the flipside of that argument is that Moo's, in

particular MediaMOO at MIT, have provided me with some interesting insights into how people develop and personalize their own space when it can be absolutely any space at all. You can make anything and set it so it can be manipulated in any way you choose. Most of the stuff I've "seen" has been pretty imaginative. The major limitation of creating your own environment in a MOO is that other characters can only perceive it one way, the way you describe it. Something is lost when you are not able to explore a locale with your five senses. It is something that is not actually a sensory input. It is more of a feeling you get about the person whose space you are in. The sterility of the MOO keeps you from feeling this. It is pretty difficult to get in a position in the MOO where you feel genuinely uncomfortable. It's a feeling like this that makes you act truly human. Without it, and others, social interaction feels a bit too artificial. With all this talk about feeling I beginning to think that I'm missing the point.

    If you've noticed traces of pessimism, sarcasm, and

cynicism, you're probably reading this properly. These natural characteristics of my personality, coupled with my desire for real experiences and my general dislike of things convenient, leave me still wondering the same thing I wanted know in grade six: what is all the hype about?

   It seems that almost every household has a computer. I am

constantly hearing how you must be computer literate in order to succeed get a job nowadays. Many people are storing all their vital information on disk. Even in this class, so many people appear to be engrossed with learning how to use the available software. It seems awfully limiting. Am I missing something? Is there something advantageous about having your job, your home, your self, hang in the magnetic balance?

   Computer-dependant people have perhaps conveniently

forgotten that computers need electricity. Again, not a monumental revelation, but few seem to acknowledge this fact. It makes me think of one of the many power failures that used to occur during summer rainstorms as when I was younger. People would gather at some spot on the street, sheltered by umbrellas, and chat. My mother once told one of the neighbour kids that since the power h ad gone out we'd have to watch television in the dark. He bought it. People are just as gullible when it comes to computers. Computers also "crash" (a mysterious phenomenon that I have been reminded of thrice during the writing if this essay). Rarely does anybody have a solution, let alone an explanation for this. I can't understand how people can rely so much on such fragile pieces of equipment.

   After so much griping about these annoying boxes I'd better

reveal my admiration of them. As I have already stated, I think the ability to communicate with them is invaluable. Having a computer in every household for that reason alone would be worth it. Anyone has the capability to access almost anything from anywhere. Those are pretty huge parameters that have never been within our reach before. People talk of a restructuring of the Internet whereby more restrictions would be in place. Unfortunately, due to human nature, we will probably work to justify a situation like that. Greed will more likely than not drive people to lock up information, with access for a price. Hackers will continue to hack but the stakes will be higher. The authorities will crack down harder on those who are caught. Those in the upper echelons of government know that information is power, and they're not about to give it up that easily. The EFF will hopefully grow and continue to prosper.

   I have been amazed by what computers can do. My aspirations

for putting out my own publication will be realized shortly. While you'd never be able to tell by the appearance of this piece of writing, I am eager to tap the dynamics of the realm of desktop publishing. Even more than I imagined, I will be able to distribute it world-wide if I so choose. I will be able to design my own home, with plans ready to hand to the builders. These are things I had not imagined possible before. I don't suppose Adrian and David would be too impressed. So what.

   I have been feeling quite uncomfortable trying to come up

with "original insight and speculation on contemporary culture and technology." I have such little experience with this field that any attempts to theorize so far have ended up with technologically aware people either stating that it's been done or questioning why I would want do such a ridiculous thing. It has made me feel like I'm too creative to be working on a computer. Either that or I'm being too demanding. I don't have the technical know-how to recognize which it is yet.

   This planet definitely needs more communication. The

Internet has made it so that you reach around the world, but not everywhere. As far as I know of there are no connections to the third world. For the most part the technology is only available to big businesses and universities. According to Molly, a character in MediaMOO, that would mean that this kind of technology is limited to an elitist group of people with enough money to gain access to the resources. The uneducated, unwashed masses are deprived of the opportunity to be connected. I can believe it. We are going to have to find a way to hook up the rest of the world. Without it, the third world might slip further into the information void.

   "I have found computers provide a pretty good workout for

the modern mind. The possibilities of computing have been able to stretch the imagination of some. Never before would you have been able to manipulate a photograph or a rendered 3D object in the ways you can now. You can publish yourself. While it is still somewhat expensive to accomplish these things, it is no longer absolute impossible. With the added potential of computers you can let your imagination explore larger expanses. Getting things done is now only a matter of learning how to do it, and even that is easier than ever!"

   I still don't buy it.
   Reality is far too valuable for me to give up. I love my

cat. I love Italian food. I love my Polaroid camera. I like to feel fear. I drive my car fast any chance I get. I have almost drowned in snow. Standing on the edge of the roof of my apartment gives me a rush. There is no virtual adrenalin. I play basketball on the weekend with a bunch of very large guys who hit hard. Bruising is an essential part of being alive.

   I have memories of growing up. Barbecues in the back yard.

Riding my bike up and down the block. Neighbours. Getting chased by the bully. Going on vacation. Swimming at the local pool. Stuffed animals. I don't think virtual sentiment would cut it. The terrible feeling inside when you smoke your first cigarette.

   The experiences of my life have shaped me and will continue

to do so forever. I can't help but get the feeling that technology is being shoved down our throats. I thought this time I might be able to keep myself from gagging on it but i haven't been successful so far. AT&T is trying to convince me that I won't need a road map anymore. Their advancements will get me to my destination quickly, safely, and efficiently, and when I get there I can call my wife over a video-phone. They're trying to make physical distances non-existent by transporting my presence around through a sterilizing filter. I'll pass on it, thanks. It all just seems too safe.

   I have not been able to make up my mind for the last seven

pages. I have reacquainted myself with the best technology available to me. I have explored more of the Internet than most people I know. I have learned how to do many things with these fancy boxes. I know what I can do. I still want to know why. At least this time I am able to make an informed choice about my future in computing. It is very likely that six months from now my opinion will have changed. Nobody is going to know anyway.

by: James Nobel


Since the beginning of mankind, inventions were the fundamental backbone of progression into what laid ahead. The telephone and television are among the most influential inventions that propelled mankind into boundless territories. Here, communication is the intangible force that governs the world s fate, we now live in. If it wasn t for the telephone and president Kennedy s tactics we wouldn t be here: the Cuban crisis would have been a reality. Now, considering this critical event that would have seriously dictated the future of civilization, how else will technology affect us? Our lives will be changed for the better or the worse by technologically advanced tools and multimedia; in conjunction, the future of our society and culture will adjust and adapt as we progress into what may be the information age or the post-industrial age. A passage by Kurt Yonnegut captures the very essence of what we are to expect with regard to technological advancements:

. . . the First Industrial Revolution devalued muscle work, then the second one devalued routine mental work. . .

Do you suppose there ll be a Third Industrial Revolution?

A third one? What would that be like?

I don t know exactly. The first and second ones must have been sort of inconceivable at one time.

. . . I guess the third one s been going on for some time, if you mean thinking machines. That would be the third revolution, I guess - machines that devaluate human thinking.

(Smart, opening page)

Although this passage makes reference to artificial intelligence, it gives us an idea of how fast technology is progressing and the ramifications of such progression. Can you image machines that devaluate human thinking? Our imagination would lead us to many predictions on future society and culture. Essentially, technology is the impetus for the fate of our future. In order to instigate some thought and provide some insight, this essay will reveal the potential capabilities of contemporary technology and the effects it will have on modern society and culture.


Communication and information are virtually the vital blood and heartbeat keeping society alive and healthy. Because of technological improvement, the way in which we communicate has become diverse and complex (Multimedia), diverting from conventional forms. New technology provides capabilities to be done differently, efficiently, and more conveniently. In essence, convenience and efficiency are the driving force for modern technology, without them civilization would remain stagnant or dormant, which ever way you look at it. If not for convenience, cellular phones would be obsolete and there would be no drive for the invention of a wristwatch sized pagers. If not for efficiency there would be no need for software programs such as CADs and the digital form of communication, Email. Convenience and efficiency complement each other, and together are the essential ingredients for technological growth.

With respect to the affects of technology on society, we have experienced what has already happened and the many researches that had been done. Consequently, there could be a trend that will provide invaluable clues to the future. Eventually we are and will be affected by modern technology and notice changes in our education system, government, profession, and business. New information and communications technologies are spreading rapidly throughout the world at an increasing pace. Someday, we will be able to remain in one central location and complete all daily tasks without coming in physical contact with another person. Sports and leisure activities will be the only factor motivating the movement of our body. People may turn into a bunch of couch potatoes taking for granted the convenience of what technology has to offer: already, interactive TV programs are enabling one to order pizza from a simple command on a remote control. Additionally, information is as easy to access as searching for a book in a library, may be even easier. There are databases everywhere that can be accessed by the public. For example, there is a BC computer guide listing programs and services offered by the provincial government. The convenience of acquiring information by means of information highways precludes the hassles of fiddling through a phone book and calling place after place to access your target. Moreover, telecommunication is augmenting the elimination of office as the workplace. People will be able to conduct daily work activities without leaving the home. Consequently, the environment we live in may benefit from less air pollution caused by excessive automobile exhaust and population of the city core. Economically, the decreased demand for downtown office space will drive the rent/lease prices down, thus, permitting affordable prices for people wishing to live in the downtown area. To conclude, there seems to be many advantages of convenience, however, may be in the future this world we live on will be inhabited by slothful but highly intelligent human beings.

Currently, information is without question equivalent to power that can be shared freely by all. Some people acquire information which is related to the struggle for the competitive edge, especially in business. Professions will fight for the valuable commodity (information) that will keep them ahead of the rest of the pact. An academic researcher needs information to solve problems and create theories that will undoubtedly keep him/herself ahead of the field in his/her discipline. Even artists, fashion designers will be affected. By the nature of their industry, replication is rampant, to a certain degree, and will burgeon if information is easily accessible. If that s the case artists will lose their authenticity, however, due to serendipity and creativity, they may gain new ideas and designs to enhance their respective disciplines.

Presently we can access and deliver information millions of miles away on the other side of the world. This was unfathomable years ago, but in the age of the INTERNET information is going to be the blood allowing the body of society to function smoothly. Without this communication network we may be thrown back into the days of civilization where mediums facilitating communication were non-existent. Information and communication will be so immense that society may form into a single entity, a global community. Although this is a broad view there may be a rudimentary integration of a global society. For instance, automatic translation of different languages for users of the INTERNET. A Canadian researcher communicating in English may deliver messages instantaneously translated into Chinese for a Chinese scientist.

In the INERNET era, information highways are the driving force eliminating the need for paper as medium for communication. Digitized text reinforces and supports the move for a paperless environment. Digital text is eternal and immortal, stored in electronic facilities, whereas paper is mortal and indefinite with a simple force of a hand or water. Without a doubt, the strengths of information highways as communication mediums will put smiles on the members and proponents of the environment movement. Consequently, typing will become a mandatory prerequisite implemented in our education system. That is until thoughts can be entered into a computer through voice activation. Unfortunately (or to some - fortunately), the paperless environment is presently not a reality and will take years for it to become a part of society. Despite the exponential growth of the INTERNET and computers entering more homes, not every man and women has access to computers and this communication medium. Additionally the 100% safeguard of computer storage is not guaranteed (because of computer viruses and the like), thus furthering the acceptance of a paperless environment. With regard to mail, the Email system will definitely flourish. Sending messages so easily and quickly will make writing letters more enjoyable. May be future post offices will integrate the Email system in their organization. Individual booths will have voice or hand activated input devices that delivers any where and place in the world at a cost comparable to a postage stamp. Where ever the Email system will be located, the telecommunications industry will probably be the main and most important industry of the future. This industry will provide jobs, compensating for the lost occupations that were replaced by computers and robotics.

In the education system today, computers are becoming more prevalent. Children are using it at a younger age, starting in elementary schools. By this integration of digital technology into our schools, children might grow lacking interpersonal skills and a social life. This statement is generalized, but Darwin s theory of evolution may support the truth. As years pass by children will lose touch of reality. Communicating through the INTERNET with someone without physical contact will deprive them of the experiences and feeling from conversing with a person face-to-face. Additionally, the large world we live on will be mentally visualized as a small world, more intense than we currently imagine. Conversely, there are a lot of positive outcomes from modern technology in schools. The INTERNET will facilitate and enhance knowledge, and provoke healthy imagination. If children read text sent to them through the INTERNET, imagination will flourish as they try to grasp the meaning of the text and the person they are communicating with.

In medicine and academic research, information technology can be very beneficial and advantageous. Researchers can congregate via computer networks (such as MediaMoo or other MUDs) facilitating the possibilities of cures for the earth s illnesses and human diseases. With the use of computers and network, doctors and researchers will be able to work together and tackle the world s problems. Moreover, sociologists can record, observe, and study dialogue from players in a text form of Virtual Reality (communication networks), allowing the fabrication of invaluable conclusions and theories. For biologists, computers can produce artificial life. Computer generated living beings live and reproduce much like their biological counterparts. This breakthrough will most definitely impact further studies into reproduction of, for example, micro organisms that are the foundation for living forms. Simulating biological growth can give scientists the observational advantage without the lengthy task of observing the real life growth stages.

The all too familiar human occupation loss from computer capabilities is more pervasive as the years go by. We have already experienced the impact of Robotics in the work place and due to the growth of the INTERNET and VIRTUAL REALITY computer substitutable occupations will be diminishing. Operators and information servers are the unfortunate victims of this technological take-over. Conversely, new occupations may result from such take-overs. Additionally, because of advanced softwares and artificial intelligence, modern architects (for example) have evolved from its true origin. Now the most strenuous part of their job is to problem solve and design while the once arduous task of utilizing their drafting and drawing skills are now obsolete. CADs and the more advanced programs have most definitely made an impact in this industry, whether its positive or negative. Researcher have predicted that in the future occupations will all be replaced or affected by computers, except for artists, writers, and lawyers. Well, that statement can now be modified to ALL professions will either be replaced or affected by technological advancements. Artists facing digital reproduction of their artwork may encounter appreciation in their work, to a certain degree. Greater exposure and dissemination of their artwork will frankly improve advertisement of their original work, thus creating greater demand and marketability. This of course is not applicable to every artwork; nevertheless, it will impact every artist, especially the well-known or avant-gardes of the art world. Additionally, writers and lawyers will inevitably be affected by the immense amount of information floating around in the vast array of networks. A lawyer may win a case solely because of information he gathered as evidence that was diligently extracted from a database in another city or country.

A technological breakthrough that will literally change and rock contemporary society is VIRTUAL REALITY (VR). If this technology had photo images in 3D and normal motion speed, there is practically nothing it can t do. Presently, among others, it is used in medicine, military, education, training, entertainment, and research. The potential for VR is enormous. While donning a mask and wearing a sensitized glove (who knows what other attachment will be available) one may accomplish tasks before physically impossible. Essentially, the use of this technology is without limits. One can think of many ways of concocting a purpose or objective for VR: simulating warfare for fighter pilots and soldiers is one assignment VR has accomplished. The more interesting capabilities of VR is what it will be able to do, not what it has done. Imagine communicating with a friend on the other side of the world as though he/she was there in front of you. Images and sounds just like the real thing will fool the mind and give humans the ability to do almost anything without the presence of physical contact. A fencer under VR will visualize a stab wound (hypothetically speaking) without sensing physical pain throughout his/her body. Slam dunking like Michael Jordan without even leaving the ground. Unfortunately there is a dark side to VR and that is of satisfying our minds. It could be addictive, comparable to psychedelic drugs that fool our minds in accomplishing impossible feats. The illusions of the VR may have psychological effects that may be comparable to the hallucinogenic narcotics available in the market. People will live and breath this artificial world of the VR. The effects could be detrimental but for its present use the VR is beneficial to society as it trains, educates, facilitates. Additionally, VR can assist advertising and marketing tactics. Business can use this medium to introduce new products which will attract customers, and enable penetration and acquisition of a substantial market. This would most definitely be a competitive advantage for the user.

VR may direct the future of a city s infrastructure. For example, VR could someday be seen in shopping malls. Merchandising stores will be the size of a information center booth with VR equipment and attachments. Inside the VR world would be a store salesperson or assistant. One will be able to virtually shop inside a digitally reproduced environment of a store. Prior to entering this digital store, the size of ones body will be programmed to enable one to virtually try on a piece of desired clothing. Then, ones appearance will be viewed in a virtual mirror. When one chooses to buy an item he/she will purchase it by conventional means, and receive it where it was stored in a compact department behind the storefront (booth). If VR is used along these lines, society will benefit with fewer use for land and space. May be the environment can be saved from this idea (if it hasn t already been thought of). With increasing population, the infrastructure of a city would be maximized to civilian comforts without building outwards, possibly destroying the environment and pristine wilderness areas. Basically, land and space will be used more efficiently and effectively, and materials would not be wasted.

Along with the advanced technological capabilities of VR and other instruments, the political system may change drastically, for the better or worse. With the acceptance of the INTERNET in the Clinton administration, citizens will be able to voice their opinions, feelings, and ideas about contemporary issues and problems. This will enable the Clinton administration to view the whole picture of a controversial issue which provides the creation of quality decisions. On the contrary , countries under a fascist government will experience greater control and order by the dictator. With current and future information technology, dictators will be able to monitor and record the lives of the people. May be George Orwell s fictitious character Big Brother will become reality. Some believe this character already exists.


Society is built on many blocks, and no block is more celebrated than that of culture. Culture is what distinguishes us from people of other nations, and because of escalating growth of global interconnection different cultures will be subject to integration. Although a lengthy process, the transition is exemplified in the global economic system: European Economic Community (EEC) and the imminent North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are just simple examples of the movement towards global integration (hereinafter global integration is the cohesion of information from all the countries of the world). In the age where technology is fostering the construction of a global village, how is the arts (the groundwork of culture) and the artists going to be affected? Currently, how have they been affected?

Integration of the arts, which comprise of the theatrical, musical, and visual arts, are happening already. Technology has enabled people of different cultures and languages to communicate with each other. Words in Japanese is currently translated into English in the matter of seconds by the tap of a finger. Voice activated language translation already exists, furthering the possibilities of global integration. Considering global integration, what will be the dominant culture adapted by all? A trend that seems to be occurring rapidly gives rise to an answer: the country with contemporary technology and culture that will attract others. An example is the youth culture in Japan and many other Asian countries who are riding the wave of the American youth culture. They listen to the same music; admire the same visual artists, musicians, actors/actresses, and athletes; play the same sports (except for SUMO); and, eat the same food as the Americans, all possible because of the technological multimedia available to them. The powerful Americans not only influence its immediate neighbors but also overseas countries.

As technology develops, so does the arts. Amid the presence of the INTERNET, artwork will be dispersed all over the world for viewing by anyone who possesses the necessary instruments. As deliverance and receipt of artwork becomes easier, the downsides of replication (as already mentioned) are likely to be more prevalent. On the contrary, greater dissemination will enable the invention of new ideas and thoughts from a compilation, acquired through various computer networks. A simple example is native art. Due to the vast amount of information available, native artists have produced new styles and forms of art through generations. A native artwork is printed with colors never used in traditional forms. Technique and use of tools for carving wood and metal have enhanced and elevated native artwork. Presently, native art is internationally recognized and cherished by many. The ideas may have been brought about independently, however, the probability of acquiring new materials and techniques from outside sources are immense. Additionally, contemporary artists benefit from information that can, through human ingenuity, create new techniques, skills, and forms of art.

Manipulation and digital production of visual artwork provides efficient and convenient processes of creating art. Art connoisseurs and enthusiasts may repudiate the nature and originality of digitally produced artwork. This view is reinforced by W. Benjamin:

With the advent of process forms of reproduction, technique of enlargement and slow motion begin to reveal aspects and images of the original which escape unaided or natural vision. In addition such processes of reproduction transform the contexts of appreciation, reception and use of the original through the provision of copies which enter spaces and situations beyond the reach of the original. (Smart, p.112)

Additionally, he argues that such developments have interfered with the authenticity of the object and that in the age of mechanical reproduction. . . . the aura of the work of art withers. (Smart, p.112). Nevertheless, the few that may support this view must realize the evolution of the mediums of visual communication. Art was produced and expressed on wood and stone in the days of the Neanderthal and Cro-magnon man; then, artwork was expressed on paper; consequently, photography replaced the artistic functions of the hand; currently, artistic expression is found on the computer screen. If one accepts this view, digitally contrived artwork will be considered an authentic and unique form of art.

Amid the controversies on the amalgamation of artwork and technology, artists (the creators and founders of cultural characteristics) face extinction (in reality — layoffs or fewer jobs). With the softwares (i.e. MacDraw) available in the market, artists are overwhelmed by the capabilities and functions of computer assisted production of design and music. The efficiency of these software packages are creating the elimination of artist and their conventional skills and techniques. Artists of the 90s and the future will probably need computer literacy and utilization techniques as replacement for their original skills (of using chalk, paint, pen, etc.). If this is the case, who is the real/true artist the computer or person? In light of what may happen to artists, art may be negatively affected by mass production and dissemination. A piece of artwork may devalue in the mind of a viewer because of overexposure. Much like the people who get sick and tired of the same music played on a particular radio station: our minds simply turn off when their is repetition. By the year 2010, the term original piece of artwork may signify the original millionth piece of artwork.


Currently the effects of technology is apparent to all of us; however, in the age where full-blown cyberculture is not far off in the future, we face a great deal of uncertainty and vulnerability from what technology will offer. We could be living beings existing mentally only in a digital environment (i.e. in a MediaMoo). More frightening, we are unsure about the actual capabilities of technology in the future. Imagine what it would be like to live on a world where communication is accomplished through wires connected to the brains of participating individuals from a central computing unit. Wim Wender s film, Until The End of the World gave us a visual interpretation of the physical instruments necessary for entering digital information directly into the human brain; this would enable the phenomenon of telepathy into a virtual reality. The use for this fictitious instrument would be endless (e.g. eyesight for the blind) and the consequences would probably turn contemporary society and culture five hundred and forty degrees. Additionally, it would either astonish or scare the shit out of modern man and woman.

We can predict the ramification of technology on the future of our society and culture, however, those prediction will never be known to actually occur. Our future is like a biological entity, no empirical data or past trends can forecast what is the fate of mankind. Not only do we as individuals live, so does the society and culture. We are the blood cells that circulate through the veins of society and culture. Technology is the medicine or illness that will permeate the body of society and culture. The effects will not truly be known until the blood cells (people) accept the medication (technology) or reject the illness (technology). Currently, the capabilities of medication (e.g. LSD in the 60s) and illness (AIDS in the 90s) are without boundaries. Analogous to technology, the mind altering drug of LSD and the killer disease of AIDS are flourishing, capable of influencing the fate of the mankind. If technology didn t progress, history would not exist and time would not advance into the next minute or day. The stagnant environment would not yield any unusual events or occurrences. However, reality is the advancement of time and technology. The future effects of technology on society and culture will never be know, but we can only theorize, visualize, and imagine.



        Routledge, London, 1992.

   The effects of modern technology on contempory culture and

society are far-reaching and have irrevocably changed the way in which we view ourselves, and the world around us. Technology has profoundly affected us psychologically, socially, physically, and emotionally. It has influenced the way in which we interact with each other and with computers, and has drastically changed the way in which we continue to develop. Gradually, we have come to see the world as an entire global community that is linked through computers and other communication systems. Because of technological advances it is now as easy to exchange ideas with someone in China as it is with the person next door. Advances have also been made in the computer programs that deal specifically with visual art and design. One can also see the advances made in fields like Cybernetics, Virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. Yet these advances are not without drawbacks; for, the human factor tends to be left out of the equation and makes information exchange impersonal and isolating. The technological progression that has occurred in the last one hundred years has far outstripped the advances made in the previous one thousand years and with each new development hundreds of possibilities arise for further advancement.

   The technological breakthroughs made in the last twenty

years have affected us immeasurably. Within the framework of communication systems alone, the socialization of humankind is irrevocally changed. We no longer see borders between nations as psychological deterrents; merely as physical barriers. We can communicate with people in other nations as easily as we do with those we find within our own circle. Entire databases and networks have been set up to encourage communication and information exchange between a diverse range of participants. Telnet, Gopher, Mail Art, and Internet are just a few examples of services developed to promote and expand the concept of individual expression and facilitate the access to a vast array of information available in the computer age.

   Computer networking is one of the fasted growing

opportunities in the computer field. It allows for a vast array of different information to be accessed immediately at one's fingertips, Telnet alone has over 4 000 different topics ranging from weather and travel information to science and politics . Once hooked up to the network, the user can access different "conferences" and can send and receive electronic mail. While using Telnet, I was able to access very diverse material, and receive information on architecture and design, as well as "conferenced" with a company that is sponsoring a design student exchange between different Universities. The quantity and variety of information that can be accessed is amazing, and it is growing yearly as more and more people and companies connect to networks.

   Over and above of dealing strictly with information

exchange, networks also exist to expose artwork and other creative fields to the general public. The International Network Culture endeavors to eliminate the divisions between viewers and participant, and artists and non-artists, while providing the structure for ongoing global artistic interaction. Socially speaking, it has linked a variety of people,(students, teachers, professional artists, etc.) who come from different locations and sociological backgrounds, who otherwise would never have interacted. This type of networking culture is a new movement which challenges the conventional meanings of art and literary expression and acknowledges art to be more interactive. The intrinsic value of this democratic system of personal expression allows for individuals to concentrate on aesthetic and creative concerns and not on status or political concerns.

   Cyberspace is a computer generated space that humans can

enter and interact within. Cyberart, created in cyberspace, therefore has no physicality like real art, and it is more democratic in the sense that it is created and expressed on a unilateral and not on a hierarchical level. Because it is new there is no hard and fast rule defining cyberspace. As more and more people get on-line to networks and bulletin boards, the governing of cyberspace–who will be allowed access to what and where and for what cost are questions that will need answers. The majority feel that the broader the base of a non-hierarchical self-governing body, the more it would adhere to the premise behind cyberspace; namely, individual rights and equal access. However, it is all a question of logistics, control, and money. Because there are millions of people who are on-line to networks, there is a great deal of money at stake and the question is who (what companies) will have a monopoly on the service. As services continue to develop one must also look at expansion in a direction that favours two-way networking which favours a more democratic decentralized system. This decentralization can also be seen in today's computer companies. With the expansion of a more global market, companies are now specializing in specific areas. This also allows for competion among groups dealing in specific arenas which in turn enables the consumer a wider variety of choices.

   A new network being developed that has a great potential and

will offer many benefits is ISDN., Integrated Services Digital Network. It is a set of digital protocols which enables the movement of information, both voice and video, over regular telephone wires at a faster speed than can be achieved by a modem. The possibilities could include video conferencing and electronic mail, and other information to be transferred from home, and portable sites that as of yet are not as accessible as the office environment. This type of infrastructure will allow for greater flexibility and freedom of where and when information can be sent and received at very rapid rate. As of yet, ISDN is not readily available, but alliances are forming between computer and phone companies in order to establish the groundwork for local, national, and international access– in essence, to establish a "information super-highway".

   The way in which computers have become integrated into our

daily life has made us become more and more dependent on them. The psychological and emotional impact of the "computer age" has been far-reaching and has challenged the way in which we view the world. One of the main psychological concerns caused by the increasing role that computers play in our lives is Fear.

   "The real danger is not that
   computers will begin to think
   like men, but that men will
   begin to think like computers"
   -Sydney J. Harris
   According to a report in "Omni" magazine, computer

scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology stated "….we are rapidly losing, have perhaps already lost, physical and mental control of our society." (According to Dr. Joseph Weizenbaum). Generally, the level of fear is most prevalent among older people, because the younger generation have become familiar with computer skills and programming. These are being intergrated into the educational system. Yet, "computerphobia" persists to be a major stumbling block in the path of technology. There are a various rationalizations behind this fear; some people are afraid of losing jobs, as more and more complex machines are being developed that can do the work cheaper and more efficiently. Others become overwhelmed and feel insignificant and view the entire computer field as incomprehensible and threatening. There is such an overpowering array of different computers, programs, information, plug-ins, printers, etc., available, that it is hard to even begin to understand were to begin, let alone become proficient in the computer age. However the most compelling fear we face is that computers will become too powerful and man will no longer be in control. This general idea is even played out in major Hollywood movies i.e. "The Terminator".

  "Modern man is the victim of the very instruments he values


   Every gain in power, every mastery of natural forces, every
   scientific addition to knowledge has proved potentially


    because it has not been accompanied by equal gains in self
   understanding and self discipline.
        -Lewis Mumford
   Modern technology also has a physical impact on our lives. 

In light of the fact that now millions of people sit in front of a computer terminal for hours at a time day after day, regulations have been passed limiting the amount of time a person can sit in front of a screen without a break. There is an increased awareness of the effects of electromagnetic fields that are given off from monitors and are strongest within two feet of the monitor. To date there has not been a comprehensive long-term study of the physical ramifications of the field. There are also studies that indicate that there are increased cancer rates for people regularly exposed to radiation and an increased rate of miscarriages.(Brodeur, Paul, Currents of Death: power lines, computer terminals, and the attempt to cober up their threat to your health) Luckily, there is an increased awareness and new advances in monitor design that help shield the user from excess radiation. Other physical problems that occur with the computer are dizziness, headaches, and eyestrain. These are caused by flickering or unclear screens or by glare, yet these too can be relieved by using antiglare screens and proper lighting. A lesser known physical problem is known as repetitive stress injury; found when one does the same thing over and over again. This can have a damaging effect on various parts of the body. Lower back pain can be relieved by getting up and changing positions frequently. Another common ailment is pain in the wrists, hands and arms; variations on keyboard design and placement are being reviewed but no solution has yet been found that completely relieves the problem..

    With the advent of video cameras, computer imaging, and

desktop publishing, etc, we can "immortalize" ourselves, our actions, and our thoughts. Psychologically, this has had a great impact on they way we perceive our limitations as human beings. Now, we are no longer even limited to reality as we know it. With the recent explosion in the direction of Virtual reality, technology has taken us into a field never before explored. Virtual reality will have many applications and uses in the years to come. The technology allows the user to move through computer-generated images (with the use of a helmet) in a three dimensional world, which is super-imposed on the "real world". For example one could be a mountain climber or become the main character in a video game. Designers of Virtual reality software are also working on programs that will make television an interactive and not just a passive activity. While, the equipment is still not as refined as programmers' wish, the advances in technology have been amazing. Virtual reality will have many other applications as well as belonging to recreational arenas. It will be a great educational tool that will be seen in operating rooms and in many types of very specialized simulations. By the end of this century, the field of Virtual reality will be so diverse and will open up avenues, as yet unheard of.

   Cybernetics: (neural modelling) the science of control and

communications systems founded on the theory that intelligent beings adapt to their environments and accomplish goals by reacting to feedback from their surroundings. The premise behind cybernetics is based on human neural networks, the fact that one can learn, generalize, and hypothesize. The objective is to create self-organizing machines, ones that can adapt and learn. However, the difference in capabilities between biological information-processing systems and computers remains extensive. In biological networks, it is through innate properties and through learning that humans are able to respond to specific stimuli. In effect, each individual neuron is its own decision maker and memory storer. The one great advantage we have over any artificial intelligence is our resilience, damage caused to a few neurons will not shut down our entire memory or information-processing mechanism. With an artificial system, memory is stored with an arbitrary numerical address and can only be accessed as such. Humans on the other hand have the ability to retrieve memories through various methods, including content association. The dream to achieve machine intelligence that is parallel or greater than humankind still lies in the very distant future; in the meantime, the complexity and versatility of computer programs continue to develop rapidly.

   With the complexity of computers increasing exponentially,

the question arises: "Can artificial life be alive?" The semantics of the sentence alone is question enough, yet is there an answer? Thomas Ray is a biologist at the University of Delaware. Three years ago, he started testing a model of evolutionary principles created on a computer. He designed a system called Tierra, which illustrated that evolution works just as well in a computer system as in the real world. He created a digital creature made up of a string of computer instructions which he then introduced into the model. Within hours the single creature proliferated, created a race of clones that lived, evolved, and died and themselves spawned new groups of mutants. Ray and other scientists believe that some electronic creatures are more than imitating life, that they actually are alive.

   In the past decade, there has been a proliferation of

scientists working on computers who have produced systems with digital creations that resemble plants and insects in a silicon world. There is very little agreement among scientists about what can be deemed alive, still many want to create what will qualify as life forms. The Chaos Theory is an assumption that computer-generated systems might actually mirror nature because scientists have discovered that patterns and structures can even be discerned in systems that appear to be totally disordered. It is through the creation of artificial life that researchers hope to discover "what is it in matter that enables it to have such an innumerable variety of forms, including life"(Steen Rasmussen, a Danish Physicist working at the Santa Fe Institute)

    The effect that advances in technology has had on art in

today's society is far-reaching and has irrevocably changed the way in which think about visual art. In the last century, the transformation that has occurred in the visual art world is immeasurable. Western society no longer necessitates that art must fit into the well defined category assigned to it years ago. It does not have to be a framed painting, a piece of representational sculpture, or a well presented piece of work. Visual art is what the artist creates, whether it be a be on paper or on a computer. The progress made to computer programs and applications which enable artists to create a variety of effects is astounding. New methods and techniques arise daily as more and more people are experimenting with the plethora of results that can be achieved with computer programs like Photoshop, Superpaint, and Autocad. The advances made in programs that relate to the realm of graphic design and architectural design have transformed those fields irrevocally. As an Interior Design student I have noted what computer programs like Autocad and Minicad are doing to the design field, even the way in which programs like Architecture and Interior Design are being taught are affected. The basic drafting skills are still required, yet curriculums are now being augmented with courses dealing with computer-aided design. The field of graphic design is also changing rapidly. The majority of advertisement, logos, letterheads and all types of signage are now all being produced on computers. It is not only the design fields themselves that are affected by this new technology; western society's views on what visual art is have changed.

   Today, anyone who has a computer and a simple drawing

program can now create visual art. Visual art is no longer regulated to "artists" as it was in the days of the Beaux Art. There are no longer clear rules deciding what is classified as art and what is not. Who says that what one produces on a computer program is any less artistic than what one creates with pen and paper. When the field of photography was first developed there was a lot of complaints and concerns dealing with whether it should be considered and artistic field or not. There were many painters who had trained for years to be able to replicate a tree realistically on canvas who were dismayed at the idea that photography was to be taken seriously as an art form. Yet with time, as the consternation of a new and unknown field wore of f, society came to accept photography as a legitimate artistic statement of its own, and learned to value it accordingly. It is also so with computer-generated visual art.

   People will become aware and learn to appreciate the quality

and caliber of the work being produced. A further benefit of the advances made in computer design programs is the ability for society as a whole to be able to create and contribute to the field of visual art. Due to the great accessibility of design and drawing programs, anyone with a home computer will be able to produce an array of drawings, graphically altered images, and architectural drawings.

   The effects of modern technology on society and contemporary

culture are phenomenal and immeasurable. They have altered the way in which we view ourselves, and the changing world around us. They have touched our psychological, social, and physical lives and have greatly modified they way in which we develop. With the unprecedented advances made in computerized communication systems and networks even the way in which we interact with one another and with computers is different than it was twenty years ago. The world is now linked electronically and we have become one giant global community. Technological advances have also affected the fields of Cybernetics, Virtual Reality, artificial life, and computer design programs. The transformation that can be seen in the Art world is astronomical and has irrevocally changed the way in which society views and values visual art. The technological progression over the last hundred years have been phenomenal and with each new technical discovery countless possibilities arise for further advancement.

Contemporary Culture (& Technology): An Example of it More Than Anything Else

By R.K. Shaw June, 1993.

   It`s funny how we`re living in the past so much of the time. 

The present, for me, has not just one finite meaning. We all have different presents wrapped up within what we know of our own culture and how much we partake in it and so much more.

   And how about the Volkssport Association of British Columbia

display and beer garden down here at Market Square. I don`t know what this is about beyond an accordion player in tall socks, a pixie hat, and suspenders for his shorts. Or are those knickers?

   I think they`re into hiking - them Volkenssporters.  Come

from the Alps originally perhaps. Today they`ve got the centre of attention, although I feel i`ve come after the peak of the party. But maybe not at all. For an afternoon party it`s pretty much come and go as you please. To PARTY does not seem to be the big focus of the, the event? Is that what it`s called? My shoulder`s sore & the sun is reflecting in my eyes. I think Volkenssportees are in the blue shirts. Older they are than me or, well me anyways. Oh, they`re some burgundy shirts as well. A 10 & 20km walk was just announced for tomorrow (a way of achieving visionary state of mind through walking? - an ancient tradition?) and a walking tour of Market Square, Fantan Alley, and Chinatown - but no points allowed for that one. Eleanor Grant from Comox is now going up to receive a certificated for 13,000 km. John Grady has done 25 marathons and over 25,000 km in 19 years. Margy Limpy of Victoria, Jerry Levine of Victoria, and a few others. Check out all the sun hats on the beer garden tables. CLap Clap Clap OH, Cathy Lean is there from Kelona, Washington. And hey, how does anyone become an ambulence attendant anyways?

   Actually that`s not that difficult a question to answer. 

Either is grave diggers I suppose. Don`t beer gardens usually have low fences around their parametres, you know, just to keep in & keep out or what ever - FENCES, as I would say when Mike and I discovered that Mini had pood in the tub. "Well you know cats, CATS." All about cats explained in one word.

   I guess he`s playing polkas.  That`s a polka right? 

Accordion equals Polka. Easy music.


   About what I was going to tie this all into.  Well just look

around - oh sorry, one more little divergence for a sec, it looks like the Volkies are sponsored by Rockport. Walkers they are, cool. So yes, I just came from a bookstore where I flipped through a sort of compilation comic

   Whoa,one more Volky comment - He`s up  holding the Canadian

flag - not a bad size one either - & what, come on, is that it? - I`m waiting for him to at least flex his muscles but yes no the flag is now back in its place on stage. Beer gardens.

   And above the Guatemalan shop and over to the left one can

buy all the latest, freshest clothing. Rave wear & sort of skate shit. That whole alternative to norm transition and all of its labels shit… "To all the girls I`ve loved before". Hey this guy must be good, give him a digital delay sampler on his acorn and I`d listen longer & around & around but for now I`ve got to go. When the saturation point comes…

a few days later…

   I`m not always explicit and obvious with what I  mean

because my meaning is, in a way, your meaning. You construct it from that I throw together. This makes communication more interesting and interactive. Although according to some trains of thought, more linear ones perhaps, this way of communicating isn`t plausible on an academic or definitive level. What i`m talking about is taking place in a more creative or lucid context. Often, making THINGS interesting is part of what everything we construct is about. We are here, alive, so why not think about stuff & talk about stuff & write about stuff and do it and make it interesting while we`re here. Enlightenment is boring, so balanced and harmonious and uninteresting. There you have it, the answer to IT all. So now what, you`re alive, what else is new. Just keep on living & working or what ever I suppose. N`est-ce pas? And change too I guess. Throw that in there as well. Change (or not) comes from growth or rather can be growth, and if you like expanding (your mind and being lets say) you learn form experiences and as a result change (or not) because of them. You becomes a better, or rather, a different person than you were from the last minute


half hour

         or season
         or person

or colour

                            t-shirt or skin

or experience or emotion

    or cloud
     or scale
     or life
                           or beach.

Cause as they say…

   So ypoorter was writing this thing she calls Everything Is

Fuct and I was thinking ya,

             everything is fuct.

Everything is fuct and nothing is fuct and everything is fuct. But that`s what she was writing about, at least that`s what I think. And I`m an authority, because I say so. I could say why I'm an authority but I`ll talk about later.

   Now is later. Ha! How do you like that - quicker than a

polaroid, faster (perhaps) than money, more satisfying than - well you might just not care so anyways→

AUTHORITY: Who gets it, how, about what, & why.

I guess what bugs me most about authority is when it`s used oppressively or down right for the negative - Negatively. Authority, or knowledge (or not), can be used so, so productively (?) (I`ll use that word rather than positively, as, i guess my presuppositions are cropping up & in here - but hey, of course).

   NOTE:  My little positive/productive debate thang comes out

of this thought being relative to my own biases and presuppositions preferences. They would be for, as I would place them, on the positive, caring side (interpret that as you wish, I do too). Yet instead of being used to foster love, self realization and empowerment for the benefit of yourself and other beings and rocks or trees, authority could just as easily be used to encourage and promote hate and self realization and self empowerment for the benefit of other beings etc as well (although probably for the benefit of others who look most like whoever`s doing the talking. I seem to be getting sidetracked (something which I like) a bit too much perhaps. Or maybe there is just so much I want to say that I get on to something else before I clearly and neatly finish up with what I oh what ever. An outline and maybe some more formal structure to this speel would make it more acceptable on a standard essay format. But this is supposed to be informal so I guess I`ll go with it. This paper/piece/essay is about what I want to say and how I want to say it. It is also suppose to be about contemporary culture and technology. The two, me and contempo cult & tech, are bound in ways that I may or may not talk about but probably will. Ok, so I guess I`m overwhelmed. La tee da tee da. There are just a couple more things that I wanted to mention. There was a snowboard add from a couple of years ago that went something like this: "Don`t question authority, ignore it." To further that I like: "Don`t question authority, be it." I sort of got that from what Mr. Virtual Reality, Jaron Lanier, was saying about Big Brother types possibly wanting to control V.R. input like tapping a phone line. He advocated becoming smarter or a better hacker than those who try to "control" things. Sorry Jaron if that's not quite what you were getting at but it is what I mean and well, meaning is obscure isn`t it?

   I could say "that`s it" but no.  Shall we continue?

I`ve very recently come to realize that I`m writing about the future, and the very near past. I`m not used to doing this, or at least used to looking at creativity in such a way. Normally when ever I write it is not about things which are as of yet undefined. This means that I am writing about nothing which is now becoming something. This is just how technologies and cultural movements are continually emerging, evolving, and being defined. I can write about what is now happening in my world, as far as I know, and what I am doing within it, as a part of it so to speak. Often the more one knows the more one can partake. But not always. For example, I can partake with what I know, but of course not everywhere, well yes everywhere. My degree of involvement is restricted or modulated by my ability to, so to speak, speak the language. Or for others their ability to speak my language. We are always partaking in our society to one degree or another. By choosing not to partake you are partaking.

   NOTE: I use "you" instead of "one" sometimes (lots) because

even though it`s bad grammar I think it more directly addresses you, the reader. Active inactivity. Or inactive inactivity. Or even inactive activity. Defining. That`s it! I`m talking about who is defining what is what. Which all ties into authority. Got it? I sure do and don`t. But even that is what I`m talking about. This might help:

Music, group, & get together. Well like


another thing but you know. Cause

   you know music is music.  If you want to                    
             play music you can play music if you have         
                       the people you want to play music with

then you can play music. Know what I mean?

  1. Bob Marley from Talkin` Blues.
   There is an active movement or cultural shift in importance

that is growing, or at least trying to. One with an enfaces on the security of living as an individual, living with others how you want to with respect and appreciation from those who surround you. This can be a scary thought because I don`t want somebody doing what they want if it means bad stuff. "Bad stuff" covers alot and is culturally and personally specific. What I might consider bad would of course be good to somebody else and even my thoughts right here are culturally specific to some one who chooses to live in a smooth transition, positive vibe, caring, try to not be afraid to speak my mind but get along with other people and things kind of way. I may have to rewrite that sentence. So, because of the randomness of truth and meaning, people may conflict and hey, why not allow for that? How? Well I could talk a lot about that but it would just be me spouting what I believe in and all of a sudden I feel strange about doing that. But since that`s what i`m doing anyways, heck, why not? I still feel kind of strange because I`m not used to saying what I believe in to a potentially large (hello out there) audience. So if i`m going to speak to YOU which includes all of you (ha) then here we go.

   ME as pointer outer for a yet undefined cultural standpoint. 

I don`t know how far it reaches. By this I mean that it might just reflect back at me, or my friends, or my ecological region, or country, age group, or race, or sexual orientation, or economic bracket, or gender, or hair length, or level of formal education, or experience, or yes so many of these things go in to where I`m coming from but I know that already and acknowledge it. Maybe our lack of a definition or label is what defines us. An aware Slacker or active GenXer would be the closest term perhaps (more about this later). People sometimes go through something like this on a personal level but I`d like to see it happen on a massive cultural scale. And I do, and don`t. It comes and goes. One vibe becomes more prominent than another. Which is fine. That is change, allow for it and you might not become bitter. Remember that sometimes these thing work in cycles. I`m relying on myself and on others of some what like mind to live daily in such a way. I just read an Alice Walker book. "Resistance is the secret of joy" it said. I am holding out you might say, hanging on to my own terms, letting them change and adapt, but trying to live life my way. Reminds me of an old Lover Boy song. Yike. Resistance to being pushed and pulled around sometimes means being pushed and pulled. But I would rather be respected in my own place with out having to demand it. Who wouldn`t? And all this shit is a big kaboodle in my brain. I care I suppose. I care how people are doing (and the Earth for that matter). I care about what kind of world I live in and you live in. I would like to live with out having to lock my doors or any number of other little yet significant things that split trust in our North American culture. The systems, policies, and attitudes that put people and the Earth in shitty positions (eg. poverty) are in obvious need of change. Not only are companies and governments being forced to change their environmental policies (not enough) but I would like to think that those in control might actually care about "tomorrow" more than just for economic reasons. This may be too much to ask or hope for but this is in some weird way how I'm trying to live daily. Banking on individual difference to make a difference I guess. I like seeing it work though. In little ways like recycling and using cloth shopping bags, your own mug, and such.

   New systems that are being developed need to allow for

humane based foundations. That is what is so interesting about all the new technologies coming up. I see people still trying to make a buck which is great (I guess) but also being conscious and considering how these new things will positively and negatively effect the environment, which of course includes us.

   Do you ever notice that when you say something it could just

as easily be taken in exactly the opposite way from the way you meant it. The Bible is a classic example. Interpretation is so hinged upon context and language. I have no problem with this. I like it. Chaos. What to believe what to believe. Those old "objective" news reports, and scientific experiments, and photographs they just don`t hold the same validity that they used to if they ever really did. Maybe it is not necessarily their validity that has changed so much as their absoluteness. They are no longer the absolute authority or truth but now just one of many points of view. But unfortunately whoever controls access to the means of communication controls the content. As Jaron Lanier said something about telephones being good because anybody using one controls the content but not so with a TV. I have nothing more to say and lots more to say. Lunch time? BLaablablablablablabaaaalbbaaalaaablablablablab. I feel like some feed back.

   Thank you Heather.  Heather understands.  We were wondering

though about the disparity between written and spoken words and just how immensely different the two forms of communication are. I`m hoping that you, the reader, will understand more or less what i`m saying and meaning. But hey, you might not and that`s ok. Written or spoken or otherwise I might not even know what i`m doing. Ooou, this IS nutty. But that is what is so contemporary (to me at least). Linear logic has become only one of many approaches to looking at things. Go see the movie Slacker if you haven`t already. It shows a lot of what different ways of approaching one`s life are going on. The maker of the film, Richard Linklater described a Slacker as:

somebody who's not doing what`s expected of them. Somebody who`s trying to live an interesting life, doing what they want to do, and if that takes time to find, so be it" (from Mondo 2000 #9).

That`s sort of what I was trying to get at earlier on.

   Now I would like to add in a few words and expressions that

i wanted to get into this essay(?) but that might not make it in if I don`t do it right now. Here they are:

hip pouches, Maslow`s hierarchy of needs, Kiss My Grits, plate of shrimp, old cars, new cars, postmodernism, deconstruction, subjectivity of a kiss, knowing, fear, love, art, hair, the running of the goats, fashion, raves, flow, congas, the orb, vibe, having a body, not much else cept for music.

And a few of quotations that have everything to do with what I'm saying:

"How did you get here?" "Same way you did: space ship, Ape City, subway."

  1. Tyler to Brent in Beneath the Planet of the Apes

"What ever you do, take care of your shoes."

  1. Phish

"Pousse mon amour, pousse!"

  1. from Leolo
   To finish up with I`d just like to say that if anybody out

there has anything they`d like to say to me please do so. Here is where nouveau technologies come in such as e-mail. Feedback on a ramble like mine would be much appreciated. I`d just like to know if anybody feels anything that I do. Via the wonders of e-mail I can be found at:

                        R.K. Shaw

             IS THIS PROGRESS???
                                                June ,1993
    My insight of contemporary culture and technology is

looking globally and personally at how the future is fast approaching.I wonder how prepared we really are?

    Technology has been progressing over the past several years

blindly in the eyes of society. I could see that we`re in the process of distroying the old world and building a new world in its place, at least trying too. The light of technology has become overwhelming, while our environment, economy,and education are falling a part. Changes are occuring now and we tend to be emotionally attached to our old ways of living rather than try to open our eyes to change. Although we are in a higher level of consciousness and awareness from mass media, and mass communication, we`re losing control over work everywhere from factories and offices to hospitals and retail stores,as computerization is integrating in the stage of the systems. In our work environment, we are being controlled by the systems logic and are now becoming aware of this transformation and implications. But are we prepared to make the change? So far it looks as if our perception of technological change and economic restructuring has been transformed from social and political issues of massive unemployment, demeaning of work, and loss of democratic control and personal independence into a de-personalized, disembodied technocratic puzzle: how to "manage" the "impacts" of restructuring; how to "adjust" people as if they were numbers on a flow chart.

         Its brought jobless employment growth in many plants

and offices and are reduced to unthinkable procedures by pressing keys while technology does most of our thinking. Its as if we're being filtered through unnecessary laborers of technology, all in the value of the doller. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

        As uncertain as it may seem, technology is becoming

more of a reality. In my own personal experience I have had to some what alter my career plans. I've felt like I have had to start all over again. I realized that computers as another artist medium tool would be an added skill to other artists like myself. But to have computers as the device of all art mediums in the future, I fear to question..? If technology dominates the medium of our ancestrial artists it'll be like eliminating history of its craft. To eliminate the craftmanship you eliminate the physical technique and expression. I believe that technology is blind in the understanding of personal experience and expressions. For instance, if we were to look at a painting on a computer screen, how would our perception of artificial image compared to traditionally viewing of painting?

How can we see the artists instinctive physical approach to the painting? I can't imagine how computer can transmit such information. The only way would be to have the computer transmit the mind of the artists. Artists would not have complete control over his/her work with a computer. The process of mixing colour is a process of creativity and satisfaction of discovering new colour by physically mixing where as computers would be artificial. Naturally you see the stages of development from the beginning to the end piece as a whole,where as with the computer your mousing about to find the final result.

                  Unfortunately I believe painting,

drawing,sculpture will become a thing of the past and more or less it'll be a personal liesure activity ,but when I look further ahead I try to imagine what painting will look to computer graphics and special effects. Currently having used a bit of the laser printer, I can see that in the near future, the resolution on printouts will be as clear as photos, and that amateur graphic artists will have medium to nun in design skills. They can also become skillfull designers and layout artist. Machines will play a major part in aiding creative skills and expression to those with talent musically and artistically. Artists will be even more highly regarded in the new age of art but the traditional skilled artists will always be well respected.

    I've heard the latest in our media news about the new 

visual reality in theatres and that audiences will become more intensily involved with film, so much so that too many action scenes could rapidly confuse illution of film with reality. How much further will this virtual reality go? The thought of virtual live T.V. would be amazing,but we would probably virtually not want to live ourselves in our real world.

        Currently I've had a taste of my own experience of

virtual reality, when I've finally decided to educate myself and get over the computer intimidation, which has caused some anxiety and frustration. This occured when I first sat in front of one of these screen T.V.s wondering if the other students new little as much as I did. I thought that going through some of the program guides would be a breez, (So I thought) obviously didn't make computing easy. I was anticipating instant results but all I was getting - "Command not recognized" to "Don't understand" The amount of time that it lit up the screen I was ready to put a hole in the return key. "Now there's some vertual action for ya," I made my exit so I could bring myself back together. Tolerence and patience is definitely a virtue. I wanted answers no matter how long it was going to take me. Having had some good tutorial assistance, I found that it wasn't enough. I realized I was on my own to explore the jungles of the Internet, FTP,Gopher and EMAIL> etc. Having explored the programs I saw how this new technology can and will open a whole new world of communication and having access to new tools. (Not to worry I don't plan to regurgitate the procedures)

   I could see how this new technology has unlimited 

possibilities that are unimaginative to human thinking. Globally I wonder if this new technology will be beyond human control or will we be considered technocratics in the 21st century? Hmmmmmmm… The thought of what 10, 20 years will bring is hard to imagine really. Really in only seven years, will be in the year 2000. I can remember watching the future series 1999 in the early 80's and to think that I'd still be here to see that year. It's a fearing thought that in 1999 we could live such a cold and sterile environment, wearing co-ordinated coloured uniform and not being able to see the light of day. Everyone living in uniformity and order with no sense of individuality. Yet six more years, who's to say this fictional movie 1999 may hold some truths. Interestingly, recently I read an article by Arther C. Clark in which he has some interesting insightful predicaments which I found it to be amazingly possible of what a birth certificate would look like in the 21st century:

Commonwealth of California Department of Health`s Vital Records CERTIFICATE OF LIFE Subject: Baby boy, Miller Date of Conception: November 15,2018; 12:15 P.M. Place of conception: Comprehensive Fertility Institute,

                       Beverly Hills, California

Number of Parents: Three, including surrogate mother-

                       mother donated egg, father sperm

Method of Conception: In vitro fertilization followed by

                       embryo tranfer. Mother's body had       
             rejected her artificial falloian tube.            
        After 8 days on pergonal tablets, mother               
        produced 2 eggs. Both were removed                     
   during routine laparoscopy and screened                     
   for possible defects. Eggs united with                      

father's sperm. After 48 hours in incubator, embryos were removed from growth medium and placed in surrogate's womb. Only one embryo attached itself to uterrine wall.

Prenatal Care Ultrasound at 3 months. Fetal surgery

                  performed at 5 months to correct small       
             defect in bone of right foot.

Date/Time of Birth: Jason Lawrence Miller born July 20,

                  2019; 4:15 A.M.

Father: Jason L.Miller,Sr. Mothers: Amy Wong (natural), Maribeth River


Birth Method: Newly lifted in Morningstar Birthing

                  Center, division of Humana Corporation.      
                  Natural delivery of Humana Corporation.      
                  Natural delivery after 5-hours labor.        
             Labor pains controlled through                    
   accupuncture. Therapeutic touch used for                    
   last hour of labor . Child's father,                        

adopted sister, and natural mother attended the delivery.

Weight/Length: 10Ib.; 25 in.

Eye Color: Green

Genetic Profile: Yunis Test show missing sub-band on

                       chromosome 5, indicating premature      
                  graying of hair. Will be totally gray by     
                  age 22.
                       Bands on one chromosome upside down;    
                  could have fertility problems.Nicked         
             chromosome indicates a greater than               
        average vulnerability to lung cancer.

High-Risk Professions: Any career that would expose individual to possible lung damage:painting, mining,etc.

Body Type: Mesomorph. Build well suited to contact sports,such as football.To maximize

                       muscle development and athletic ability,
                       should begin exercise program by age 4. 

Prjected Life Span: 82 years

        I wonder what the 21st century schools will be like. I

think we would constantly be training and retraining and learning. Also early training will lead to greater educational success later. For example, a grandmother taking a course in a small business management where as her sixteen year old grandson's getting 1st year college English early while in Universities, students are taking classes in new technological development in their field to advance fields in technical science. The emphasis will shift to produce workers for the industrial factory based economy which required patience docility and ability to endure boredom.

        Knowing that Robots technicians are now increasing in

demand, new fields will spring up as population increases and workers jobs are eliminated by technology. This is obviously happening even now where workers are having to go back to school to prepare for careers in these new areas. Fortunately technology will bring students a smorgasbord of educational choices for students of all ages. I can see in the next generation how schools will be partly financed by local industries that rely on producing and training workers. Technology is transforming society itself, in turn computers will take on schools.

    Artificial intelligence in its infancy will probably

dominate education or even its growing stages that will probably dominate education.

        As I look further ahead in artificial intelligence

meaning robots will be able to see, listen, talk in all ranging languages. They'll no longer be a simple-minded dumb insensate machine found in factories producing lines. They'll move out of manufactoring plants to working alongside us relaxing with us and, live with us. Our homes will become roboticized with central intelligence. They'll have control over the cooling, lighting, security alarms,and ventilation and light control. Soon they'll be able to crack our eggs in the morning without any tecno-anarchy. They'll be adapted to more and more things become our robot slaves that we will train and house break. As we get used to the luxury of having slaves we may want them around for companionship as well . The thought of haveing Robo-dogs and Robo-cats that responds to human voices a companion without the kitty litter. "What a concept!" Better yet I found another insightful thought found in the same article by Arthur C.Clarke where he uses Joseph Engelberger idea of a robot resume . He believes these artificial intelligence beings will become undersea explorers, heavy construction workers, crime figurers nuclear power plant inspectors, cybernete companies and astronauts. Here's a sample of his robot resume:

  1. ————————————————————-

RESUME Name: Universon Robot Social Security Number: None Marital Status: N/A Age: 58 years old Sex: Three choices (male, female, asexual) Height: 5 feet Weight: 60 to 2,800 pounds (depending on job requirements) Present Health: Excellent Medical History: Lost hand (now replaced) in a forge accident; lost memory (restored by tape); blinded in a kiln explosion (new, improved stereoptic vision since installed) Life expectancy: 29 man-shift years Special ability/Training: Industrial/heavy-duty outdoors model: Fluent in three robot languages; instantly retrainable with memory replacement module; three-jointed arm has 6 degree of movement and is capable of lifting up to 2,000 pounds with one end effector (hand). Precise-can work within a tolerance of 1/1000 of an inch; works 24-hour shifts. Personal model: Available in either stationary or mobile configurations; can learn to respond to owner's voice; comes with Level 1 Conscience, the program of protective ethics, factory installed (not available in warrior mode). Work Experience: Assembly-line worker, welder, painter- Ford, General Motors, Materials handling-Pittsburgh Plate Glass Domestic-Engelberger household, Danbury, Connecticut Operating room nurse/attendant-Long Beach Hospital, Long Beach, California References supplied upon request

        So where does this leave us ?  The thought of having a

race of robots which are exactly like humans with the only difference they're less subject to mental and physical disease and are made of metal (recycled metal) or whatever. Is it possible that these human robots could become immortal? To answer that , it seems anything is possible in the future of technology only I wonder about our future as a human race. So far globally we're deteriorating but in order to move forward it seems we'll have to make alterations to educate ourselves to progress.

   I ask ,"What is progress?."  A question,that's always

puzzled me. I guess that everyone must try to kick the habit and evaluate our values and priorities in the way technology is being designed and applied. But then technological change is controlled by few people dedicated to maximizing efficiency for competitive gain. Yet, population is increasing and I can see a viscious technological circle occuring. In time, if this unwinds and takes effect in the next generation, we would have more time to educate ourselves to a much broader range of educational choices in which we have access communication and information that can be transmitted all in our finger tips.At first it's like finding a new toy then learning how its used.

    Also I can see how psychologically some of us can become

completely obsessed to the computer screen and not be able to function normally without it. Is this where the human race is heading? This will bring in a whole new stream of jobs into psychological technology, speach therapy, to optometrists as our eye sight weakens.

   This wonderful technology called progress

seems to let out a lot of bug, causing our physical and mental bodies to diminish due to long hours of sitting in front of a computer screen accomplishing nothing, to sitting long hours of accomplishing something. Then to watch ones documents disappear from your very eyes. Of course this, so call PROGRESS doesn't always provide such mental and physical strain. A wise preacher once said "believe in yourself." he also adds not only to believe in ourselves but also our sense of what is important, and to use that as our guide in our working and living environment in the industrial era. One thing I'II add which makes life so much easier is to SAVE !! SAVE!! SAVE!!


In order to start this essay I had decided to answer a question from the course outline:" Have we all become artist" ? This question will enable me to focus my attention,and allow my imagination to grabe hold of the implications of such a thought and fallow it into the latest frontier of computer technology. this essay is part of the requirements for the Arts and Technology class. The class covers in part , practical applications of contemporary computer technology. And, as a Visual Artist I will attempt to give my interpretation of this perceived relationship between the two. This is the first of - short essays concerning my journey as anew and impressionable technowiener entering into cybrospace.

                                  The question of whether we

have become all Artiste, implies, that we have been empowered by reason imparted to us by contemporary technology. With this evolution of computer technology it seems to be the next medium for the Artist to adopt. Be it push button or voice-command, mass-consciousness has finally delivered us too the window's of cybrospace and virtual reality. Since the nifty 50's the Modernist attitude has had mainstream society pinning away for great technological advancements and now we're at a threshold. However, we are but lowly Pilgrims entering a little knower and yet created frontier

 The implications still remains the same that technology could

some how induce a type of metamorphose on the human rase and transform them into Artistes. However, I am of the belief that it is a combination of imagination, inquisitiveness, self-awareness, craft and discipline that aspires us as Artiste; furthermore, creativity is an inherent human characteristic and not a technological induced function. Perhaps our imaginations will be further seduced by this technology; thus , limiting or even debasing our awareness of reaction to sensation, and then , giving way to a belief that : With computer technology therefore I am.

The Good

                                                The demand for

information and communication is on the rise as more and more people discover the tremendous potential of computer networking. This resent development in technology has the capability of providing a new faster and more versatile way of accessing and communicating information. With more computer sights coming on line and appearing throughout the world more people now will have access to a larger base of information. A medium seemingly designed for the politicaly correct 90's.

 In this age of political  correctness a powerful information

and communication medium has the potential of being a fantastic tool in fostering relationships within your own region through either Freenet service or a more international server like Internet. The methods of communicating with someone can be either by e-mail, direct connection to the person or persons and by posting messages on a community or special interest bolten boards, what ever the method chosen it will be a more convenient one.

 The fantastic wealth of information sights available to us

from around the world has given us a form witch to unit people global. This ability to share knowledge in areas of Education, Arts, Technology, Medicine …etc,etc, simple by making computer files accessible to anyone is a great development from this technology.Gaining access is simple made by going through directories like Archie and by Database or by simple posting your quires on a community bulletin board, either method usually yields the desired information on possible communication sights.

The befits from computer networking has set the tone for new

Conventions by creating a new faster more versatile way of accessing and communicating information. However, the most important development from this technological innovation is its accessability. The ability to log into a computer, be it public or private, and access information from other sights around the world has finally turn the have notes into the haves. I can only hope that people will take the time and nurture this new technology not just control it.

   The Bad                                                      
                        The latest in technological

advancements made in the area of communication and information services is awe-inspiring. A most hypnotic vision of seemingly endless possibilities awaits us in cybrospace. Snap out of it! Don't fall, under the trance of this hypnotist, you don't even know who he or she is let alone know if their really. Lets get back to Canada's economic problems; for example, how about the Federal and Provincial fiscal restraint policies and the Free Trade deals. After all, universality of social programs and Canada's sovereignty are important issues much more than what the latest computer technology has to offer or is it?

 Perhaps there is an important link between Canada's current

economic problems and policies that involves technology related to cybrospace. The Free Trade agreement between Canada and United states plus the possibilities of NAFTA agreement with Mexico could be seen in relationship with the latest computer networking capabilities and The New World Order. The connection between the latest development in the information communication technology is part of a Global Infrastructure that connects us with other market places and trading blocks. Furthermore, the market place will no longer be confined to simple geographic areas and this intern will mean more of a Global economy; thus , the once known Multinational companies are now known as Global companies.This implies that companies will have greater flexibility in regards to development and being more transitory. This method of doing business has been made possible by technology like Telex-radio-computer networking links.

 What free trade agreements do for Global companies and there  

subsidiaries is eliminate trade barriers between respective trading partners. With trade barriers down outside investors can have a great influence on the sovereignty of host country; for example, by claiming unfair trading practices do to particular Federal or Provincial past or future policies. Which brings us to the most often herd phrase of the 90's "We have to become more globally competitive". And we have already seen some examples of streamlining and its effects: Down sizing of operations , wage rollbacks, and the threatened Universality of social programs plus meany others.

 The connection has been shown to be made between Canada's

economic and Sovereignty woes and the latest in computer technology has made it possible for Governments and Global campiness to manipulate and create a New World Order of polices and procedures. The solution to Canada's present problems and future self determination is not only being able to use the same technology but rather the need for investment into Canada as future leader in development of technology.

 The Ugly                                                       
        The creative powers formed by the imagination and

intuition with its amidiate understanding with out reason has brought me to this finaly essay topic : Contempoary music regarding communication technology and how people relait to it. I remembered the recording by Roger Water's, Radio K.A.O.S from 1986 and Kate Bush's song, Deeper Understanding from her 1989 recording of: Sensual World. Both artist approach on communication/computer technology as being trivealized by societies consumerist attitude and their excessive preoccupations.

 As I read the lyrics from the song : Deeper Under Standing by

Kate Bush I can relaity to what she is saying and can imagine how people can slowly withdrawly from society and become introverted. Here are the lyrics from from Kate Bush's song: Deeper Under Standing.

As the people here grow colder I turn to my computer And spend my evenings with it Like a friend. I was loading a new programme I had ordered from a magazine:

"Are you lonely, are you lost? This voice console is a _must_." I press Execute.

"Hello, I know that you've been feeling tired. I bring you love and deeper understanding. Hello, I know that you're unhappy. I bring you love and deeper understanding."

Well I've never felt such pleasure. Nothing else seemed to matter. I neglected my bodily needs. I did not eat, I did not sleep, The intensity increasing, 'Til my family found me and intervened.

But I was lonely, I was lost, Without my little black box. I pick up the phone and go, Execute.

"Hello, I know that you've been feeling tired. I bring you love and deeper understanding. Hello, I know that you're unhappy. I bring you love and deeper understanding."

I turn to my computer like a friend. I need deeper understanding. Give me deeper understanding.

                   In Kate's song : Deeper Understanding, I can

sight a good example of Ipeople becoming infatuated with the seemingly endless possibilities of computer technology. The assienment in part given to our computer class was to connect with telnet and then into Media Moo. From inside Media Moo we were expected to explore and communicat with other users in this text-based vertual reality. Once you have become acustom to the program's of navigating, interacting with various tools, objects, the more ingaged you become. You seem to be cought up in the interaction and the dialouge with other users and the archutects of this virtual reality you find it hard to leave. And, the potential of computer programs becoming an obsession and a safe environment is quiet real. The obsservation by Kate Bush, maybe simple ; nevertheless, there is alot to the line ,"give me a deeper understanding," and how we are driven by it.

 The concept recording of Radio Kaos by Roger Waters has

expressed how telecommunication/computer technology has been used to trivualize or control our daily lives. Here is the lyrics for Roger Waters Radio K.A.O.S: Author: Roger Waters

Benny is a Welsh coal miner. He is a radio ham. He is 23 years old, married to Molly. They have a son, young Ben, aged 4, and a new baby. They look after Benny's twin brother Billy, who is apparently a vegetable. The mine is closed by the market forces. The Male Voice Choir stops singing, the village is dying.

One night Benny takes Billy on a pub crawl. Drunk in a brightly-lit shopping mall, Benny vents his anger on a shop window full of multiple TV images of Margaret Thatcher's mocking condescension. In defiance, he steals a cordless 'phone. Later that night, Benny cavorts dangerously on the parapet of a motorway footbridge, in theatrical protest at the tabloid press. That same night, a cab driver is killed by a concrete block dropped off a similar bridge. The police come to question Benny; he hides the cordless 'phone under the cushion of Billy's wheelchair. Billy is different, he can receive radio waves directly without the aid of a tuner; he explores the cordless 'phone, recognizing its radioness. Benny is sent to prison. Billy feels as if half of him has been cut off. He misses Benny's nightly conversations with radio hams in foreign parts. Molly, unable to cope, sends Billy to stay with his Great Uncle David, who had emigrated to the USA during the war. Much as Billy likes Uncle David and the sunshine and all the new radio in LA, he cannot adjust to the cultural upheaval and the loss of Benny, who for him is 'home'. Uncle David, now an old man, is haunted by having worked on the Manhattan project during World War II, designing the Atom Bomb, and seeks to atone. He also is a radio ham; he often talks to other hams about the Black Hills of his youth, the Male Voice Choir, about home. He is saddened by the use of telecommunication to trivialise important issues, the soap opera of state. However, Live Aid has decynicised him to an extent. Billy listens to David and hears the truth the old man speaks. Billy experiments with his cordless 'phone, he learns to make calls. He accesses computers and speech synthesizers, he learns to speak. Billy makes contact with Jim a DJ at Radio KAOS, a renegade rock station fighting a lone rear guard action against format radio. Billy and Jim become radio friends, Reagan and Thatcher bomb Lybia. Billy perceives this as an act of political "entertainment" fireworks to focus attention away from problems at "home". Billy has developed his expertise with the cordless 'phone to the point where he can now control the most powerful computers in the world. He plans an "entertainment" of his own. He simulates nuclear attack everywhere, but compassion. In a SAC bunker a soldier in a white cravat turns a key to launch the counter attack. Nothing happens; impotently he kicks the console, hurting his foot. He watches the approaching blips on the radar screen. As impact approaches, he thinks of his wife and kids, he puts his fingers in his ears. Silence. White out. Black out. Lights out. It didn't happen, we're still alive. Billy has drained the earth of power to create his illusion. All over the dark side of the earth, candles are lit. In the pub in Billy's home village in Wales one man starts to sing; the other men join in. The tide is turning. Billy is home.

Jim: This is K.A.O.S. You and I are listening to KAOS in Los Angeles. Let's go to the telephones now and take a request. Billy: Hello, I'm Billy. Jim: Yes? Billy: I hear radio waves in my head. Jim: You hear radio waves in your head? Ah! Is there a request that you have tonight for KAOS?

Radio Waves

Radio waves. Radio waves. He hears radio waves. Radio waves. The atmosphere is thin and cold The yellow sun is getting old The ozone overflows with radio waves AM, FM, weather and news Our leaders had a frank exchange of views Are you confused, radio waves.

Radio waves, radio waves AM radio waves, FM radio waves Radio waves, mind-numbing radio waves Fish-stunning radio waves Radio waves.

Magic Billy in his wheel chair Is picking up all this stuff in the air Billy is face to face with outer space Messages from distant stars The local police calling all cars, radio waves

Hear them radio waves, radio waves Jesus saves radio, radio waves adio waves, AM radio waves, FM radio waves All them radio waves

Radio waves, radio waves, he hears radio waves Radio waves, radio waves, hopeful radio waves, dopeful radio waves Radio waves, Russian radio waves, Prussian radio waves Eastern radio waves, Western radio waves Testing radio waves, one two. One two. Radio waves. Getting through to you More code radio waves, Tobacco road radio waves South to Paloma radio waves, Oklahoma City radio waves Sitting pretty radio waves, nitty-gritty radio waves Radio waves

Jim: Alright, that's a song called Radio Waves. You are listening to KAOS in Los Angeles and we've got Billy on the line. Billy: I'm from the valleys. Jim: You're from the valley? Billy: No, Jim you schmuck, the Valleys; male voice choirs, Wales. Jim: Ah, you're from Wales! Now is this sperm or blue-tip? Billy: Ha, ha, ha, ha. Very funny Jim. Jim: Sorry. Billy: Me and Benny went out. Jim: Who's Benny?

Who Needs Information

Me and Benny went out last night Looking for fun Supping ale in the moonlight Waiting for the dawn to come Benny pointed at a HiFi shop He said hey man look at all the stuff they've got How'd you make a have out of a have not Hmmmm. Who needs information When you're working underground Just give me confirmation We could win a million pounds

Benny climbed up on a footbridge And he teetered on the parapet He said can you see the whites of their headlights Are they coming yet

Who needs information This high off the ground Just give me confirmation We could win a million pounds

Who needs information When you're living in constant fear Just give me confirmation There's some way out of here Some way out of here

Benny hefted a breeze block And tried to let go Got hung up on a tear drop So me and Benny went home

Who needs information When you're living in constant fear Just give me confirmation There's some way out of here Some way out of here

Who needs information yeah When you're living on borrowed time Just give me confirmation There will be a winner this time

Who needs information when you're working underground Just give me confirmation We could win a million pounds Who needs, who needs, who needs information This high off the ground Just give me confirmation We could win a million pounds - yeah

Jim: Um. Jim lights a cigarette. Jim: So your brother's in jail?

Me or Him

You wake up in the morning, get something for the pot Wonder why the sun makes the rocks feel hot Draw on the walls, eat, get laid Back in the good old days

Then some damn fool invents the wheel Listen to the whitewalls squeal You spend all day looking for a parking spot Nothing for the heart, nothing for the pot

Benny turned the dial on his Short Wave radio Oh how he wanted to talk to the people, he wanted his own show Tune in Moscow. Tune in New York Listen tot the Welsh kid talk Communicating like in the good old days

Forgive me father for I have sinned It was either me or him And a voice said Benny You fucked the whole thing up Benny your time is up Your time is up

Benny turned the dial on his Short Wave radio He wanted to talk to the people He wanted his own show Tune in Moscow. Tune in New York Listen to the Welsh kid talk communicating Like in the good old days

Forgive me Father Welsh Policeman: Mobile One Two to Central. For I have sinned Welsh Policeman: We have a multiple on the A465 between Cwmbran and Cylgoch. Father it was either me or him. Father can we turn back the clock? Welsh Policeman: Ambulance, over. I never meant to drop the concrete block. Welsh Policeman: Roger central, over and out.

Benny turned the dial on his Short Wave radio He wanted to talk to the people He wanted his own show Tune in Moscow. Tune in New York Listen to the Welsh kid talk Just like in the good old days The good old days

Radio announcer: Do you really think Iranian terrorists would have taken Americans hostage if Ronald Reagan were president? Do you really think the Russians would have invaded Afghanistan if Ronald Reagan were president? Do you really think third-rate military dictators would laugh at America and burn our flag in contempt if Ronald Reagan were president? Concerned Citizen: Well, it might work! Hostage: We as a group do most importantly want to beseech President Reagan and our fellow Americans to refrain from any form of military or violent means as an attempt, no matter how noble or heroic, to secure our freedom.

Concerned Citizen: Sure! Only it's going to be mighty dangerous for you, Cassidy

Hoppy's faithful sidekick: guess you don't know Hopalong Cassidy, Mister. Adventure's his bread, excitement's his butter and danger, why to him that's like strawberry jam to top it off.

Jim: This is some live rock and roll at KAOS, where rock and roll comes out of chaos and a song called "The Powers that Be"…

The Powers That Be

The powers that be They like a tough game No rules Some you win, some you lose Competition's good for you They're dying to be free They're the powers that be They like a bomb proof cadillac Air conditioned, gold taps, Back seat gun rack, platinum hub caps They pick horses for courses They're the market forces Nice car Jack They like order, make-up, lime light power Game shows, rodeos, star wars, TV They're the powers that be If you see them come, You better run - run You better run on home

Sisters of mercy better join your brothers Put a stop to the soap opera right now They say the toothless get ruthless You better run on home

You better run - run You better run on home

The powers that be They like treats, tricks, carrots and sticks They like fear and loathing, they like sheep's clothing And blacked-out vans

Blacked-out vans, contingency plans They like death or glory, they love a good story They love a good story

Sisters of mercy better join with your brothers Put a stop to the soap opera state They say the toothless get ruthless Run home before its too late You better run - run You better run on home

Billy: Goodnight, Jim. Jim: Goodnight, Billy. Uncle David's Great Dane: Woof, woof, woof!

The canyon - daytime. Billy plays with Great Uncle David's Great Dane. Paraquat Kelly: Bull heads, three red snapper, one pink snapper and your Pacific coastal trench hosemonster fish. Cynthia Fox: Ohhh! At Sky David's juke joint of joy reports, forty under the console giggle stick ling cod, twenty-three purple perches four sledgehammerhead sharks, and what a surprise, eightyfour crabs, and no red snappers. Paraquat Kelly: Hey, and that'll do for the triumphant return of the fish report with a beat. Jim: We think of it as mainstreet, but to the rest of the country it's Sunset Strip. You're listening to KAOS in Los Angeles.

Sunset Strip

I like staying with my Uncle Dave And I like playing with his great dane But I don't fit I feel alien and strange Kinda outa range

I like riding in my Uncle's car Down to the beach where the pretty girls all parade And movie stars and paparazzi play The Charles Atlas kicking sand in the face game

And I sit in the canyon with my back to the sea There's a blood red dragon on a field of green Calling me back

Back to the Black Hills again Ooh, ooh, Billy come home

Billy is searching for his native land Flicking through the stations with the dial in his head Picking up ————– and A male voice choir on the short wave band

Billy taps out Jim's number on the 'phone Sits shaking as he waits for Jim's answering tone Come on my friend, speak to me please The land of my fathers is calling to me And I sit in the canyon with my back to the sea There's a blood red dragon on a field of green Calling me back, back to the Black Hills again Ooh, ooh, Billy come home

Come on home He sits in the canyon with his back to the sea Sees a blood red dragon on a field of green He hears a male voice choir singing Billy come home Billy, Billy, come home Come on home

Californian Weirdo: I don't like fish. Jim: You are listening to KAOS here in Los Angeles. Californian Weirdo: I don't like fish.J Jim: Yes, we've established that. Ah! Do you have a request? Californian Weirdo: Shell fish, guppy, salmon, shrimp and crab and lobster, flounder.I hate fish, but I think most of all I hate fresh fish, like trout. I hate fresh trout. My least-hated, favourite fish would be sole. That way you don't have to see the eyes. Sole has no eyes. Jim: Oh no! I'd like to be home with my monkey and my dog Jim: Thankyou. I'd like to be home with my monkey and my dog I'd like to be home with my monkey and my dog I'd like to be home with my monkey … Jim: They don't care. Shut up. Play the record.


Jim: Oh, God! Californian Weirdo: Sole has no eyes. Could be Jerusalem, or it could be Cairo Could be Berlin, or it could be Prague Could be Moscow, could be New York Could be Llanelli, and it could be Warrington Could be Warsaw, and it could be Moose Jaw Could be Rome Everybody got somewhere they call home When they overrun the defences A minor invasion put down to expenses Will you go down to the airport lounge Will you accept your second class status A nation of waitresses and waiters Will you mix their martinis Will you stand still for it Or will you take to the hills

It could be clay and it could be sand Could be desert Could be a tract of arable land Could be a house, could be a corner shop Could be a cabin by a bend in the river Could be something your old man handed down Could be something you built on your own Everybody got something he calls home

When the cowboys and Arabs draw down On each other at noon In the cool dusty air of the city boardroom Will you stand by a passive spectator Of the market dictators Will you discreetly withdraw With your ear pressed to the boardroom door Will you hear when the lion within you roars Will you take to the hills

Will you stand, will you stand for it Will you hear, ohhhh! ohhh! when the lion within you roars

Could be your father and it could be your mother Could be your sister, could be your brother Could be a foreigner, could be a Turk Could be a cyclist out looking for work. Norman Could be a king, could be the Aga khan Could be a Vietnam vet with no arms and no legs Could be a saint, could be a sinner Could be a loser or it could be a winner Could be a banker, could be a baker Could be a Laker, could be Kareem Abdul Jabar Could be a male voice choir Could be a lover, could be a fighter Could be a super heavyweight, or it could be something lighter Could be a cripple, could be a freak Could be a wop, gook, geek Could be a cop, could be a thief Could be a family of ten living in one room on relief Could be our leaders in their concrete tombs With their tinned food and their silver spoons Could be the pilot with God on his side Could be the kid in the middle of the bomb sight Could be a fanatic, could be a terrorist Could be a dentist, could be a psychiatrist Could be humble, could be proud Could be a face in the crowd Could be the soldier in the white cravat Who turns the key in spite of the fact That this is the end of the cat and mouse Who dwelt in the house Where the laughter rang and the tears were spilt The house that Jack built Where the laughter rang and the tears were spilt The house that Jack built Bang, bang, shoot, shoot White gloved thumb, Lord thy will be done He was always a good boy his mother said He'll do his duty when he's grown, yeah Everybody's got someone they call home

Four Minutes

Billy: Four minutes and counting. Jim: O.K. Billy: They pressed the button, Jim. Jim: They pressed the button Billy, what button? Billy: The big red one. Jim: You mean THE button? Billy: Goodbye, Jim. Jim: Goodbye! Oh yes. This ain't au revoir, it's goodbye! Ha! Ha! Jim: This is KAOS. It's a beautiful, balmy, Southern California summer day. It's 80 degrees … I said balmy … I could say bomby … Ha! Ha! …O.K. I'm Jim and this is Radio KAOS and with only four minutes left to us, let's use this as wisely as possible. Molly: Everybody got someone they call home. Jim: Out at Dodger Stadium. It's the bottom of the seventh, the Dodgers are leading Three to nothing over the Giants, and for those of you who are looking to go surfing tomorrow, too bad. 'Phone rings. Jim: I'm kinda lost in here to tell you the truth … O.K. good. Ladies and gentlemen, if the reports that we are getting are correct, this could be it. Billy, if you're listening to me, please call now.

After a near miss on the plane You swear you'll never fly again After the first kiss when you make up You swear you'll never fly again After the first kiss when you make up You swear you'll never break up again And when you've just run a red light Sit shaking under the street light You swear to yourself you'll never drink and drive again Sometimes I feel like going home You swear you'll never let things go by again. Sometimes I miss the rain and snow And you'll never toe the party line again And when the east wind blows Sometimes I feel like going home

Jim: Billy, if you are listening, please call. Californian Weirdo: Sole has no eyes. Molly: Goodbye little spy in the sky. They say that cameras don't lie. Am I happy, am I sad, am I good, am I bad? Jim: Billy, if you're listening, please call. Californian Weirdo: Sole has no eyes, sole has no eyes Billy: Ten, nine, eight, seven Margaret Thatcher: Our own independent nuclear deterrent has helped to keep the peace. Billy: Six, five four, three, Ordinary Person: …you've go a job… Billy: Two, one, Margaret Thatcher: For nearly forty years Jim: Goodbye Billy.

The Tide is Turning (After Live Aid)

I used to think the world was flat Rarely threw my hat into the crowd I felt I had used up my quota of yearning Used to look in on the children at night In the glow of their Donald Duck light And frighten myself with the thought of my little ones burning But oh, oh, oh, the tide is turning The tide is turning

Satellite buzzing through the endless night Exclusive to moonshots and world title fights Jesus Christ imagine what it must be earning Exclusive to moonshots and world title fights Jesus Christ imagine what it must be earning Who is the strongest, who is the best Who holds the aces, the East or the West This is the crap our children are learning But oh, oh, oh, the tide is turning The tide is turning Oh, oh, oh, the tide is turning

Now the satellite's confused 'Cos on Saturday night The airwaves were full of compassion and light And his silicon heart warmed To the sight of a billion candles burning Oo, oo, oo, the tide is turning Oo, oo, oo, the tide is turning The tide is turning Billy

I'm not saying that the battle is won But on Saturday night all those kids in the sun Wrested technology's sword from the hand of the War Lords Oh, oh, oh, the tide is turning The tide is turning Sylvester

The tide is turning.

The story in Radio Kaos imparts to some extent a prevailing

attitud that society has an explotive destructive naiture. Furthermore, telecomunication and computer technology are seen as the altmite vehicle for the consumerist attitude and a further exstention of their excessive preoccupations for self actualization.

 In both Roger Water's and Kate Bush's recordings both have

reflected there concerns over peoples attitudies towards contemporary technology. Be it the most general of attitudies in how we relait to one another or how we use exploit the technology inoder exploit others. This explotive attitude seems to be inherent part of human kind.

Computer Art Today

by Tina Sidhu

   The relationship between the artist and the computer is

likely to prove significant not only to the fringe artist and to the programmer, but to our society as a whole. We live in an increasingly technological society, the combination of art and sciences in computer art is a reflection of the times in which we live. The lives of the artist and programmer will inevitably overlap more and more, as the computer becomes a more familiar and widespread influence on our culture.

   There is an inevitable range of responses to computer art

ranging from those based on a fear of computers overpowering traditional human artists, to more optimistic beliefs that computers will become the most creative and greatest of art tools. Perhaps some universal computer genius with the skills of an artist, scientist, programmer and humanist, will change our traditional attitudes towards art irrevocably, and bring an entirely new and unique style of art forward. But for ordinary individuals, like myself, there is no need to wait for critical agreement. Art is an interpretive subject, and even for myself, computers provide enough freedom and opportunities for creative interpretation to make the connection.

    Because computer art challenges society s traditional

beliefs about art, segments of the general public and the artistic community, can be counted on to react with response to the computer medium. An artist who has not yet delved into this new technology simply can not comprehend that the computer can be no more or less a "tool" like the simple paint brush but with extra advantages. The only difference is that the computer is a much more complex tool, allowing more options, innovative ideas, and creative realms.

   Prior to forming any sort of opinion regarding computer art

the artist must comprehend the computer's ability to function for him/her at many different levels. There needs to be an awareness of the many roles the computer can play. For one artist, it might be no more than a design aid. A friend of mine in the visual arts department, for example, finds the computer extremely valuable to her work as a weaver. She has described to me how she uses the computer to visualize a fabric before it actually being woven. As opposed to weaving on graph paper by hand, the computer removes the automatic color preference found in that traditional method. Furthermore, by examining computer illustrations the softening of contours which must otherwise be seen only after a weaving was removed from the loom, can be visualized graphically.

   In this case, the computer does not threaten the traditional

weaving methods of an artist but improves them considerably. The artist has more opportunity to be creative and spends less time with tedious labours, like coloring in each square in a graph by hand. This allows the weaver time and freedom to experiment and therefore, more opportunity to be actively creative. For this reason, the computer is a significant advantage to the artist and the art of weaving, itself.

   The computer offers the artist a vast expanse of areas and

levels available to explore and master. A new integrative capacity is offered to the artist which can lead into new artistic approaches that combines it many features. The combination of artist and oil paint is, for example, a different statement than that same artist and watercolors. Now, rather than purchasing oils and paintbrushes from the art supply store, the computer artist can simply create the tools to be used on the computer, and combine the effect of different mediums, or experiment with alternatives. The fact that one can actually create the tools to be used for an artwork is amazing since the possibilities it provides, are virtually endless. There are lots of examples of tools to choose from and the ability to combine a variety of tools and even mediums into one artwork can prove most interesting; however, the finished work of art still depends on the program and the creative abilities of the artist monitoring the machine, whether it's a scanner, a musical synthesizer, or any other component.

   I've found that some people feel the computer limits the

artist's intuitive response to his/her own unfolding creation and prevents him/her from leaving any personal trace in the execution of the artwork. This is due to the fact that the computer artist has the ability to devise a program which can be suited uniquely to a specific artistic conception which allows him/her to reject, accept or modify images as they emerge on screen. However, this adds to the artist's creative opportunities in a society where deadlines have to be met and the lack of leisure time is a serious concern.

   It must be understood that there are many different mediums

in the world of art, each to be appreciated in their own right. Rather than constantly battle over the prominence of sculpture or oil painting or watercolors, each medium cannot be compared and should be appreciated for its unique qualities. As well, computer art should be appreciated as a unique medium itself. Just because the artist can vary the quality of line and introduce a variety of colorist effects, does not mean his/her finished work is unavoidably inferior when measured against an old renaissance master drawing, in which every line and every nuance directly reflects its creator's individual response to the medium.

   There could well be more opportunities to view

computer-generated graphics in their proper artistic context. The creative process is centered in the mind of the artist, like his/her ability to conceive an idea for an artwork, the actual process in which the work was executed, is received well when the results are seen on canvas. It may be interesting to know, but it is not an effective means to judge the actual art itself. It is the idea rather than the artist's technical skills of a particular medium which constitutes the appeal of a sculpture, painting or drawing. In fact, a sculptor friend of mine had evidenced that the realization of the artist's mental image can even occur without their physical involvement or presence. When considered in this context, I feel that the computer is not a gimmick but a tool that releases the artist from tedious and impossible tasks accomplished by hand.

   In many ways, the computer as a new artistic tool, parallels

to the emergence of photography as the mechanical medium' of the nineteenth century. There was considerable debate then as to whether photography was a medium related to science or art. Many traditional painters were appalled when subject they spent hours to recreate by the paintbrush could be reproduced by the camera in a matter of minutes and still be called art. They refused to consider these as works of art just as the traditional canvas painter may not believe the brush tool of the paint program could possibly match the tool of their own hands. However, many painters who had enough self-esteem in their own interpretations, eventually considered the camera as a valuable tool. Such artists, even today, who deal with this same debate, use the camera as a tool that can easily record the physical characteristics of a person, place or object in a form which can be easily consulted for future reference. Although there is still controversy over the artistic nature of the photograph, photography has developed into a creative medium in its own right. This occurred at the same time the artists came to accept the photograph as an artistic aid which resulted in it being less of a threat to the painters.

   I find that most of the computer-generated artwork to date

should be considered as a groundwork for a similar type of development toward a still developing artistic medium, because it offers so many new directions and potentials. There has already been experimentation in programming the computer to simulate the styles of previously existing art, even in the few years that computers have become widely available. Computer art no longer is only suited to linear and geometric designs since the introduction of new programs that offer tonal gradations, free-hand drawing and even the ability to draw complex monuments in a landscape setting of precise perspective which have become possible with computers as well. Even so, I think the computer's potential as an artist's tool has barely been reached even though its value in the field of architecture and commercial design has been acknowledged and utilized. As well, the computer is currently being utilized in highly creative ways by such programs as Nintendo, virtual reality, Cyber space and autocad. In other words, the possibilities of the computer are endless and we have yet to reach its full potential. I can only imagine what future computer technology has yet to offer the contemporary artist.

   My own interest in computer technology began through

watching my grandfather reconstruct archaeological sites and their ancient artifacts on the computer. He kept a permanent record of ancient African artifacts and vessels of the most extraordinary ceramics dated and at times, reconstructed. New approaches and the more traditional iconographic studies are both benefiting increasingly from computerized information retrieval analysis. By transferring cumbersome photographic archives of pottery, stele, textiles, site plans, and design inventories onto computer or laser disks and cross-indexing iconographic motifs and details of manufacture, form and design, researchers such as my grandfather are uncovering significant, formerly obscure, correlation's and adding continually to statistical base.

   In approaching computers now, with little earlier

experience, this course has increased my awareness of the many advantages technology offers to both artists and architects. Although I enjoy traditional oil painting and sculpting, my interests in the computer to date has centered on it as an aid in architecture. I have recently experimented with the AutoCad design package which is a general purpose Computer-Aided Design/Drafting application. The AutoCad design package is a powerful drawing tool. Although I have a long way to go, it follows my instructions and quickly produces the exact drawing I want. AutoCad features let me correct drawing errors easily and make revisions without redoing the entire drawing. The results are a production of very precise and clean final drawings. These drawings were not the work of the computer, but a creation of my personal ideas that the computer simply allowed me to envision on screen. I do not feel in any way, that if accomplished by hand these drawings and designs would have been more artistic and personal. In fact, I feel the program motivates me to improve my designs and expand on my creativity. Of course, the artist must learn of perspective before creating a landscape just like I must fully comprehend the program before designing the monument of my dreams.

   Prior to this course I had experienced a few  traditional

method drafting courses in which I learned alot about dimensions and design. However, the work was slow and tedious to such an extent that my creative nature was overwhelmed by the mere basics. In contrast, the computer allowed me to explore my abilities to a greater level because drawing simple lines and shapes was a very rapid process. The Autocad program also allowed me to envision and create my drawings on a third dimensional level. I could even move and rotate my drawings for a more precise understanding of the dimensions, which is not possible with simple flat surface drawings.

   I found myself quite excited by the discovery of this

technology which motivated me to explore ideas that traditional methods would have kept beyond me. The only disadvantage, was the hours of frustration learning the program. Learning the program consisted of following an unclear reference manual and many days of trial and error to master such tasks as a mere arc for the doorway. However, the time it took to learn what little I knew about the program was well worth the effort when I was able to apply this new technology towards my drafting designs and shapes. This could easily be seen as a parallel to learning academic methods in a more traditional medium.

   I have no doubt that computer technology will inevitably

have a great impact on the artistic community. It will offer contemporary artists new opportunities which will only increase as we get closer to the full potential of the machine. The art world will be exposed to more and more works of art created by this new medium. Once something has been done in art, the art world as a whole will not go back–even though some people will always go back to painting portraits of their grandmothers. Now that computers have become an integral part of the work of at least some artists, I strongly feel that other artists will begin to look at the computer as a viable tool for the production of art. At the same time, I believe that computer scientists and programmers are beginning to recognize that data they produce for scientific purposes can be quite aesthetically pleasing. Even these computer scientists are becoming artists. This is why I question whether there is a difference between a programmer who works with creative languages like building blocks, and an artist who works with shapes. Both concepts can be equally complex and creative.

   The computer is a tool created by the scientist and then

used by the artist in his/her creative expression. The designs accomplished by Autocad have been as useful to me as a technical artist and the paint program has been appreciated for equally valid, if less functional reasons, by myself, as an artist. In other words, the computer has benefits for both the artist and scientist; or more clearly the artist-scientist. I find that in the computer age there is a forced distinction between the artist and the scientist. Is it not unnecessary to divide both when so much interrelation is involved? Would it not be more productive for the artist and the scientist to work as one in order to double their creative input? Unfortunately, in modern society there is lack of communication between the two.

   I found that the overhead expenses in learning the computer

art medium was by thinking in terms of forms, shapes and colors through numbers and programs. With paint, the first stroke I make yields visual results. With programming, I have spent many hours learning a programming language before ever really seeing a visual image produced with it. I had to force myself in keeping interest in the program medium for its own sake, to not get discouraged and put an end to my efforts before ever even getting started. However, this parallels to actually learning the technical skills of perspective and brushwork, I had to once learn as an artist.

   Also, I had the computer simulate a traditional art medium

which I am very familiar, and use it to mimic oil painting. By using the electronic pen and tablet for input, I was provided with a medium very similar to acrylic painting. On a TV monitor I was able to watch a flow of color reflecting my hand and pen movement on the tablet. I could even select brush sizes! The advantage I have with this medium over true acrylic/oil painting is that I am able to change the medium to suit my own personal artistic needs through programming.

   I feel that it takes a particular kind of artist to get

involved with the computer art medium. It takes an artist who can cope with dualities, since he/she has to straddle two fields. He/she must have a flexible enough identity to accept the inter flow of ideas from one discipline to another. The artist must be motivated enough to pursue what is interesting in spite of the labels that have been attached to it by traditionalists and conservatives. There must be an interest in developing both hemispheres of the brain.

   It is almost impossible to imagine what art lovers can

expect from the computer in the future. The value of the computer for artists lies not in its ability to mimic what an individual can do, but in offering a means for that individual to accomplish artistic projects that ordinarily would lie beyond his/her technical scope. I predict that through the development of continually more flexible software, which could be geared to the requirements of individual artists, the use of computers by artists could eventually become as widespread as the conventional brushes and oils. As more and more artists acquire computer literacy, the concept of a bona-fide-computer-based scientific aesthetic may begin to seem less foreign.

WILLIAM SMITH student# 9109743


Contemporary culture leads us to believe that anything is possible. Much of what I have learned in recent history proves this to be true. I have been exposed to a remarkable amount of information that can be at times overwhelming, yet stimulates the possibilities to where the computer age will go. A wonderful, new world, still unchartered, awaiting to be discovered.

Now that this has been said, with all of it's excitement and promise, let me discuss some issues that have made me cringe! the age of technology is relatively new to me, but in the short space of time that I have been familiar with computers, there are some mixed feelings. Let me discuss some of these thoughts as they relate to my world.

My chosen field is the arts. More specifically the graphic arts. I began working in a sign shop about three years ago. this was a small operation, consisting of three people. the owner learned the trade from the "old school". A true sign painter, screen printer, and graphic artist. Among many of the other specialty skills he possessed included were, airbrush techniques, gold leafing, architectural renderings. The shop was small, the overhead low, but we still seemed to always be busy. That started to change a few years later. It seemed that other shops, who were totally computerized, could get the product out much faster than we could, therefor charging a much lower price. This is where the small shops started to suffer.

I always took pride in knowing that the reason I was hired for the job was my artistic talent. Now that I am on my own and trying to set up my own business, I am more aware of the true impact that the computer industry has on everything today. In the old shop there was an older signmaker computer. This computer was simply a cutter (cut letters out of self adhesive vinyl), and was regarded as just a tool. If for some reason the power shut off, we would still be able to do everything by hand. When I left the old shop I purchased the signmaker computer for myself. "All set now to head out in the world a make my living!… right?" Well, maybe get by … but not a very good living. "I have the skills and now I have the technology." I said. "so there should be no problem!". Then I began to wonder why my old boss actually sold me that computer. He had said that he was going to upgrade to a newer model computer. I then decided to investigate a little more about computer systems and their relation to the sign industry. What I found absolutely astonished me! Remember that I have limited knowledge about computers and their uses. The new computer system that my boss had purchased was quite amazing, it included approximetly 200 fonts, a scanner, an on screen graphics program (the newest CorelDraw) and an interface that linked all this to the plotter/cutter. Comparing the old computer with the new one was like comparing a Volkswagen Bug with a Ferrari. The old computer had a capacity of 8 fonts compared to 200, any company logos had to be projected on a wall with an overhead projector and then either hand painted or hand cut out of vinyl compared to just scanning the image and adjusting the size on the computer. Designing logos or layouts for signs had to be done with pens and rulers, now this can be done with the push of a few buttons.

These new computer systems are totally revolutionizing the industry of Sign making. I can tell you first hand the hours saved by these new computer systems. they enable the user to produce a cleaner more precise product in a fraction of the time. This is where I start to get depressed. How is a small entrepreneur like myself supposed to compete against the power of the larger shops that are totally computerized with state of the art technology?

It has reached the point where the sign industry is no longer a "Trade" rather it has become big business. Computers have taken a job that required artistic talent and years to learn and master and is turning it into a high production, computer generated grey area! It has become just another job that anyone can do with computer knowledge. Actually, in a few more years, people won't even need computer skills because computers are becoming so user friendly. Not that the industry isn't welcoming new people into the sign game, but it is destroying the people who built it. The true craftsman of the trade can no longer compete with the speed and accuracy of the computer. Much of the problem is that technology has and is moving at such a rapid rate that it has left many people standing in the dust. The older, strong headed man, who says, "Computers will never take over good old hard work or knowledge of a trade." is just fooling himself. Plain and simple! Even the new generation who grew up with computers has to be sharp, or technology will pass them by as well. Oh well, Survival of the fittest… I guess?

I am done "Bitching" for a while. This is just a concern from a person who is just starting life with hope and ambition and lots of doubt and uncertainty. I can see myself in the future becoming totally computerized in my business anyway.

As far as the present of technology in the sign industry is concerned, they are still coming out with exciting new capabilities. I read in the latest issue of "The Sign of the Times" (a Sign Arts Magazine) that a computer airbrush machine (the Gerber Edge) is just being introduced on the market. This computer uses coloured inks to create the airbrushing effect on vinyl surfaces. It can also produce multiple and interwoven effects, halftones and virtually unlimited special effects. Other new computer products on the market include a "desktop engraver", which can be used on soft metals, woods and plastics, and of course the state of the art in computer software. One of the new programs is called the Flewisign-Pro. It is a full colour design program with such features as auto welding, kerning, arching shadows, colour separating, registration and tilling. Many of the features have been specifically developed for the sign industry. It was just a matter of time.

Looking to the future in the sign industry, it would appear that there will be a split. Computers and technology will divide the business apart. There will be the computerized sign shops and the custom shops. There is still hope for the small shop, who, for what ever reason, chooses not to keep up with advancing technical era. Small shops will keep the "trade" alive with that personal touch. They will cater to the customer who still enjoys the look of hand lettering or that custom specialty sign for their business. Although, the average person is going to choose the shop that will get the job done faster and cheaper. The bigger shops will be constantly on top of the latest technology. A computerized shop is essential to keep in stride with the demands of competitive business.

How technology affects culture as a whole will be mind boggling. It is hard to imagine how the average population will cope with the future monopoly of the computer. I believe that the computer as we know it, will be far different in future years to come. The personal computer will become the "central nervous system" of the home. It will have the capabilities to be linked and control most aspect of domestic life. Personal,and business finances, scheduling, meals or general daily planning will all be governed by the P.C. As well as controlling day to day concerns, the personal computer will have capabilities of obtaining vast amounts of information on any subject. I can see most homes running in conjunction with the super information highways of the future. Connection to any info library or satellite link-ups could all be performed through the average home based personal computer. The vast amounts of information that will be available to every person at any time may be overwhelming. It may reach the point to where people will never have to leave their terminal. Anything and everything can be reached by the world beyond their keyboard.

The Internat service that is available, is one of the information networks available at the present time. Although the service has limited access at the present time, I do see the general public becoming more involved in similar networks in the future. Information and communication networks very well could become as common as the telephone service. Large Internat like corporations engaging in advertizing wars to see who will be the "king" of the communication-info networks. Just like AT&T and Sprint telephone companies. Which company offers more information or entitles the subscriber access to more communication lines!

The work place or learning institutions will become factories of information, cognitive reasoning and input organized by the mighty computer. The super communication-info highway will obviously be the biggest influence in the educational system. Information from anywhere in the world will become accessible to institutions. Computer communication has enabled the educational structure to totally change. Education in the near future will be far different than ten years ago. The use of the book library will almost seem obsolete . All questions, answers or research will be solved by linking into an information line through the school computer. Will each individual student have their own computer station at their desk? With the learning programs coming out now, the teaching profession could be in serious jeopardy. There may be no need for instructors. Each student just has to sit at their terminal touch the screen and the computer takes over. It won't even be necessary to know how to type, just click the mouse. Life in a screen! How exciting. I really hope that the world will not become nothing but an input and output,information "data base". There is something to be said about reading a good book.

The onset of the computer industry in the work force has enabled most businesses to increase productivity at geometric rates. We see entire company departments controlled by revolutionary computer systems. This brings me to my point. Are computers taking the jobs of many people in the work force? Of course they are! We see this happening all over. With such high unemployment rates in the country, can we afford to continue? In many cases, one computer system can take the place of dozens of employees. They can do twice the work in a fraction of the time. Obviously, costing the company a lot less money. The future could hold the average worker in the business world obsolete. This would be a great tragedy for all concerned. This situation has already begun to happen in many cases. One example that springs to mind are the telephone operators. This is an entire job force that is literally being wiped out! There is nothing worse than when you have a problem, talking to a computer generated voice. As I have already mentioned that teaching is in trouble, I am sure that many other specialized jobs are on the same path.

As individuals, the age of technology affects each person in unique ways. Everyday activities are being designed to be performed at the lowest level of energy and yet yielding the highest level of performance. Convenience is a term that technology has tried to sell to the public. Everything has been designed for convenience. Remote controls, multi-screen T's, the Clapper (the light switch), microwaves, electric toothbrushes, all designed for the user to exert the less amount of energy as possible. It gets to be a bit ridiculous. It's to the point where a person sits a computer terminal all day, gets home and sits on the couch all night. I am not saying that everyone is like this, but it does happen. It has to take a toll on peoples social skills. Common, everyday, human interaction is becoming extinct. Communication between people may be performed entirely through computer language. If you believe in the theory of evolution,the act of speaking with our voices may disappear. In theory, our voice boxes would become non functional in a few million years! Just a thought!?

The age group that the advancing technology affects the most is

the younger people. Millions of children are engulfed by the domination of the video game. The home versions of these games have grown and advanced so much in the last few years. Millions of children spend endless hours staring blank and motionless at the T screen. They would rather spend hours playing video games rather than playing sports or excercizing. Many talk shows have dealt with this subject, and I believe their concerns are valid. Young people do have the ability to adapt well. They are being brought up in the age of computers. They have become at ease with the notion of the computerized future. Their sources of information are so vast, either through education or television, that they are constantly being bombarded with the latest techno- inventions. Unconsciously they continue to learn, wether they want to or not. I have found this through my own experience. The first time I sat at a computer terminal I already had the basic Knowledge to navigate around, just from what I had heard or seen.

I am an optimist though. The future could be very exciting. all of the communication and the information possibilities are great but the some of the entertainment possibilities really excite me.

Some of the movies to come out recently are filled with creative and innovative ideas for the future. Total Recall is one movie that I found to be fascinating. The notion of transplanting a programmed memory into someone so that they actually believe that they had been there or done something. Theoretically, someone could live there life in one room but still believe that they had done and experienced everything they had always wanted. truly a fantasy existence. Much of this parallels the work being done in Virtual Reality. The possibilities for entertainment value alone is endless. anything you have ever dreamed can be realized with this system. A trip to the moon, your ultimate sexual fantasy or living with the dinosaurs could all be experienced inside a computer. Every person in the world will have the opportunity to become all they ever dreamed. A different occupation or a different sex, they could live in a different part of the world if they chose. In the future a person could live their whole existence in their own virtual world, coming out only to sleep or eat. Even their dreams could possibly be programmed. The progress they are making in the field of computer generated graphics is staggering. The recent movie "Jurassic Park" combined the use of computer graphics and the older method of stop motion photography. The makers of this movie reached the point of making the dinosaurs believable. The visual picture has made tremendous advances through the uses of such tools. If the future of Virtual Reality is as visually stimulating as the recent movie age then it will be hard to decipher between fantasy and reality. This, I believe will be the wave of the future.

Virtual Reality will obviously be not just for entertainment but many practical uses. Medical advances, architecture, training of any skill or job could be performed with Virtual Reality. It give you the ability to see or perform something before you actually do it. In the medical field, it will give doctors the chance to practice a particular operation on something other than the living patient. Health care will no longer be such a guessing game which will reduce the risks for patients. Virtual Reality can only benefit the medical field, but is advancing technology as a whole, advantageous to the patient? Life support systems have advanced so much in recent years that doctors are able to keep brain dead patients alive for many years. Where does mother nature play her role?

"Terminator" the movie, posses some interesting concepts of the future. The idea of artificial intelligence is not so inconceivable with the rate computer systems are advancing. The one fact that remains is that computers are the product of what people program them to do. Can people design programs to think for themselves? I sure hope not! Humans as a race, have enough trouble keeping control of things as it is. The last thing we need is to have some computer system telling us what to do.

Intellectually the human race is capable of creating the computer world, but is the human race mature enough to control it? The impact that the computer has on contemporary culture has yet to be fully discovered. The next generation will tell the tale. One thing is for certain though, the future will prove to be an exciting ride.

Portrait of the artist as a young hacker.

by yvette poorter

Start here. In the beginning there was clay. Ya, there was clay and paint and stone and marble and cont and tempera and wax and wood and enamel and metal and plastic and fiberglass and daguerreotype and microphones and sand. And there was a melodramatic artist with a violent temper, a black beret, a life-time supply of sunflower seeds, a studio in New York, and of course: a computer. Come on, we don t define art or artists by whether they conform to specific understood media. Naa, we call it art if it s successful in its use of the medium in defining itself - whatever that may be.

So it s just a matter of adding COMPUTER  to the list of other

tools and materials used by artists in the past - is that it? Yep, i guess so! The artists use what is available to them and if what s available is insufficient, they develop and create something more appropriate. It s all in relation to intention, context, and result. Certainly with each addition to the long list of tools and materials, a re-evaluation of our scales and terms is necessary to describe any new art form.

With the invention of the camera and its subsequent change in

status to household item, there came an obsolescence of realistic representation in painting, drawing, sculpture, whatever. But with the invention of the camera did art cease to be or did everyone toting a camera become an artist? Well okay, so you've probably heard hundreds of people going on about wanting to get into photography and loads of them (us) probably did get into it; darkroom techniques -the whole bit! Still, how much does accessibility of equipment have to do with artistic creation? The creative person with access will likely make creative stuff but that still leaves the average person with access likely making average stuff. It only makes sense - doesn t it?

WAIT!  Wait a minute, i don t mean to suggest that computer

technology will only effect art in its production stage because that is by far its smallest influence. And we don t need to redefine ART or ARTIST any more than we need to redefine the word DEFINITION. There s way more to it than that. We need to re-evaluate our concepts of space because that big ol world has been reduced to fit through the wires of a computer and the new "NEW WORLD" is an unchartered place that somehow exists in/out there - somewhere. Bigger still is the weird fact that this new frontier is both conceptual and actual at the same time (kinda like money). We re talking about a global communication network here - one which has given new meaning to the words access and excess. Information and ideas can be transferred within seconds - and we thought planes were fast. Is there some, as yet undiscovered, jet-lag-like computer ailment - some sort of compensation? Or is this new technology perhaps more in tune with true time or a new dimension? Oh boy … here we go?

Art is communication and computer technology has opened the

doors of communication wide. With Virtual Reality on the horizon, it s predecessors include text oriented interactive enviroments such as Media MOO, where the participants actually develop the space/scene as they go along. Engaged in whimsical or serious conversation with whomever is met along the way from space to space, it s up to those involved to decide where they want to take it. It s the act of both reading and writing a story at the same time - a story in which everyone has the potential to be and meet both fictional and real people. Light entertainment but with a lot of potential for crossing paths with unique individuals world-wide and infinitely more informative and interactive than TV. I mean… if you can call sitting in front of a screen with your fingers tapping away, interactive.

Why is the book better than the movie?  Ya, why is that?  Will

Virtual Reality perhaps be the movie adaptation of the MediaMOO book? By providing the visuals in virtual 3D, no matter how spontaneous or stimulating the computer generated images are, they are given and do not demand the imagination of the participant to the same extent as would text generated images in the mind. Sure, the cinematography in movies can excite and portray something as never imagined but it just can t portray it as imagined. In the words of Paul Saffo (from the article Hot New Medium:Text, WIRED May/June 1993), Video enthusiasts are quick to argue that images are intrinsically more compelling than words, but they ignore a quality unique to text. While video is received by the eyes, text resonates in the mind.

No doubt about it, in comparing the imagination s interplay

with text versus its passivity with video, we can understand the fundamental differences of the mind s experience. Then again, without the visuals dance just wouldn t cut it! Without the visuals and sensuals, physical acts just "aren t"! Imagine venturing to compare sitting on the grass with reading about the grass, having sex with reading about it, eating chocolate with reading about it … NOPE! Real life wins for being out there in the physical - and real life even has room for the books and the video and whatever else we invent into it! So where does Virtual Reality fit in? It would seem that virtual reality is an attempt to combine the physical act with the conceptual one.

Having myself only been introduced to computers within the last

month, already a lot of apprehensions have subsided. Schooled during a time before computer access, i m way too familiar with the fear and skepticism felt by the computer-illiterate. Wanting in, wanting to resist, wanting to understand what it s all about - but from the outside not the inside. Aha, but our computer demands that i stand in its mouth to hear it speak! Well here i am, ready to climb into the belly of the crocodile i m attempting to tame. Heck, it s only a virtual crocodile anyway…

So i got lured in - so i like it - so i m dying to learn more 

about utilizing the networks - so i can t figure out just how it s possible to run out of space when we re dealing with something so minute (how many cans of megabyte fit on the RAMshelf? Hmmm…) - so Jaron Lanier charmed me into enthusiastic support of his Virtual Reality - so what? It s only real life and here i am in it. When it comes right down to it, it s all what my mind perceives and how it organizes its perspective. We accept the paper we call money, giving more value to a $100 bill than to a $20 bill and we take a figure on a piece of paper to represent lots and lots of bills, although we know these bills don t actually exist. All our beliefs and truths are arbitrary anyway, so why not indulge them with the virtual experience? It s not as though we re trying to fool anyone; we re just playing around with new forms of experience and knowledge. Takin in whatever is out there and incorporating it. The computer revolution has created so many new forms of experience as well as new outlets for expressing them and sharing them globally. And access - oh wonderful access!

Access of information - the latest news coming straight from

the source and from a variety of perspectives! Is it really possible that through these new global networks we will be able to bypass such government censoring as we were subjected to during the 1991 Gulf War? Will this accessibility be the dawning of a true democratic era? It would seem that roaming around the network, reading files and reports written by anyone, anywhere , we will be able to truly organize as an informed populous and finally have political clout on both a local and global level. No longer will we depend upon edited news reports which are dictated by government and corporate powers. In fact, we wouldn t even have to leave our homes to organize politically. Through the networks, even the little people would be heard. Hooked up to our computers we ll be able to roam around the planet without so much as a toothbrush packed!

Excess  of information -  the latest news coming straight from

all sources, everywhere, all the time! How much can one possibly absorb? Having the freedom to select for yourself what to believe doesn t necessitate having the free time or even the desire. Saturation will still be inevitable and weariness will still immobilize people. Those who aren t politically active now aren t likely to jump up in this new computer age and take a stance on any issues. Even if we did have the ideal computer generation , in which everyone was excited by the potential and wanting to utilize it, what about all those who aren t hooked up? So i could get in there with my little (but objective) voice and drum up support to try and get those villains out of that jungle or save that forest. I very much doubt that those villains or those laborers have a case of "computer-butt". In fact, i doubt that any of the repressed people will be given computer access and even if they are allowed up to the computer control panel they probably won t have the know-how to effectively utilize it. Just another case of insisting that the natives play by our rules and on our terms.The silent majority will remain silent and that idyllic democracy will be made up of an elite of like-minded people who think they know what s best - perhaps while the rest play virtual reality games, read their way around the network, eat at Joe s or starve because of the environmental conditions in their physical world.

Just as the automobile, air travel, photocopying, and even the

written word have become common place props in our reality, so too will (already has?) the global networks of computer communication. And just as every new vehicle and/or communication device has threatened extinction or forced obsolescence of the old means, so too will the computer revolution. Simultaneously creating new needs and industries. With a state of the art TV comes a comes a state of the art TV repairman. With an increase in fragmented, short flashes of images and statistics comes a generation of people adapted to ingest it.

It would seem that efficiency is our ultimate goal. The telephone reduced the time and the paper it would take to communicate over distance. The automobile, train, and airplane reduced the time and improved the likeliness of long distance travel. The calculator reduced the time and raised the level of ability in problem-solving. The computer reduces paper waste, improves accessibility and diversity, and virtually abolishes the time of covering distance. Believe it or not, computers have somehow confounded the laws of physical space and have created their own huge world of cyberspace.

efficiency (i fish en se), n., pl. -cies. 1. the state of being efficient. 2. accomplishment of or ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort. 3. the ratio of the work done by a machine to the energy supplied to it, usu. expressed as a percentage. (Random House Webster's College Dictionary)

Although we all seem to want to run our lives in the most

efficient way possible, it is the expenditure of time and effort which gives value and satisfaction to our lives. Without time and effort we would be trapped in some sort of lethargic eternity of a stagnant moment. As it is, we try to immunize ourselves towards the wiles of time by attempting to stave off the effects of aging and such. Indeed, if i don t go out there s no chance i ll get shit on by a bird or bitten by a dog, no street kid will ask me for money and i won t get salt stains on my shoes, i can t get AIDS and no propaganda will influence my choices. If i can save time and protect myself from potentially hazardous exposure by utilizing the unbiased network in my computer, why not? What is the computer synonym for couch potato ?

Idealists in the computer movement envision a society in which

people are interacting, unprejudiced by the old isms and skisms of race, gender, age, etc. They believe they have abolished hierarchies and prejudices, simply by a removal of the obvious physical attributes. But judgement and classification are the basis of our personalities. What we perceive, how we judge it and how we classify it is what describes us. Already, those within this fantastically extensive network have proven their computer-sympathetic ideals simply by being within the system and they have also proven that they have both access to and literacy within this system. How equal are the voices of those doing manual labour or in third world countries or not within prescribed educational systems in our so-called open and unbiased computer network?

If we look at how every technological breakthrough which has

allowed us faster, safer, slicker and easier lives, we see that although people seem to be able to do so much more, they become lazier, sicklier, and more isolated. Even though these global networks allow us to interact (or inter-express) unabashedly with others from all walks of life, we are doing so from a controlled environment. Like occupying the seat of a god, we look out from our desks and weigh the information we ve received and with our answering-machines filtering our calls and a pizza delivered to the door, we are able to avoid spontaneity of circumstance. In cyberspace we can sit idle or we can quit the program or we can find the file we need when we need it, whereas a trip to the library might mean bumping into someone you know or may find the book already on loan or may find you caught in the rain. All of which might turn out for better or worse - who knows eh?

Remember the days before the telephone?  Oh those intimate days

when communication depended upon physical proximity or the written word. Reach out and touch - as it were. Back then, i would have gotten on my bike and ridden over to your house to say hello and given you a big hug. Now, the slug that i am sits lazily by my stereo remote and touch-tones into the cordless, Hello answering machine… Damn, i should really get myself a Stairmaster !

No, i don t remember the days before the telephone either!  And

why bother anyway - it s not as if romanticizing the idyllic before will improve life. The telephone is as much a part of us and ours as a tree or the moon or (soon-to-be) the computer is. Naa, i never would have gotten on my bike to visit you; what with you living thousands of miles away as you do. In fact,if not for the ease of the telephone, i d probably have lost touch and long forgotten your name - no hug for you!

Let s get closer to something real... let s say we talk about

the intimacy of a stylus stroking and tracing vinyl grooves. It s a wide shot of the room, late afternoon sun wafts through the window and past the silk scarf of a curtain. Slowly we zoom in to a close-up of the phonograph (stereophonic sound no less) we fade in the music, …crackle, crackle… a little sax and piano… The music ends but the crackling lingers like the flavor of red wine. Slowly the arm lifts and replaces the needle to its elevated resting spot and with two sluggish rotations the record draws to a halt. If you pass me that flashlight i ll show you how the spinning CD looks through this little window here!

Technology (tek nol e je), n., pl. -gies. 1. the branch of knowledge that deals with applied science, engineering, the industrial arts, etc. 2. the application of knowledge for practical ends. 3. a technological process, invention, or method. 4. the sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization. 5. the terminology of a field; technical nomenclature. (1605-15; < Gk technologia systematic treatment = tech (e) art, craft, skill, set of rules in art (akin to tecton; see TECTONIC). (R.H.Webster's College Dictionary)

No, i don t see any reference to technology being a thief of

intimacy and instigator of impersonal sterile communication. But isn t it true? Kinda? I mean, gone are the days of hand-written love notes emanating the mingled scents of perfume, ink, paper and dressed in the fingerprints and lip marks of their sender! First it was replaced with the cold type-written letter but still there were Liquid Paper swirls betraying imperfect spelling or changes of mind. Then we had the word processor whose spell-check and justified margins cleaned up those edges and whose choice of fonts feigned personalization. Heck fire, what could possibly be next?

Ah, who am i fooling here?  Those turntable and love letter

images are fantasies created by desire. Our imaginations sensualize and embellish our world and then we try to make the world more like the fantasy. And why not? It s that movement between physical sensations and mental sensations that makes up all that shit that s worth living for. Soaking in that music, that texture, those colours, that flavour, those words, stirring it around in your head, letting your imagination adjust the levels and coming up with something else, and then bringing that out into the world through words or images or objects or or or… How closely can you represent your fantasy in a material way? Nobody s stopping you from sending that illegible, greasy, smelly, intimate, scrawl of a letter. The first turntable must have seemed like an abominable sterilization of the musical experience. Musicians still perform live and technology seems to simply have broadened the range of what they can do by introducing shortcuts and importing sounds. We haven t replaced the live performance or quality of musician, we ve simply introduced new forms to the art. Our society needs the quick pace and variety to stimulate us because we quickly tire of what s already been done.

Although technology has allowed the artist a broader range of

tools and media, we can t deny that there are millions who have the money to utilize the same technology to create stuff . Does having the technology and the money make the art and the artist? At first glance, we might be impressed by the newness of its product but we are soon to decipher what is good from what is simply utilization of the tools. Artists, whether rich or poor will make things from whatever they can get hold of and it is that ability to actualize the concept which makes an artist. The programmer has an idea and if they have creativity the product is fantastic. New ideas and technologies come from creative minds who are able to bring them from their imaginations. Utilization of creative tools is similar to making a Van Gogh-esque painting - it might be kinda nice but it won t be art because its not new or innovative or exciting or expressive of itself - just familiar and easy. Utilizing the tools of the computer, the secretary might be able to do slick layouts and designs but it will take an artist to invent new methods of expression.

Whether we are hackers, programmers, musicians, political

activists or scientists, we will all be easier able to actualize our ideas through utilizing programs, files, and other people/institutions which are on-line. And this, by bringing things closer within reach and making the world smaller, makes our lives more competitive. Where before the artists or mathematicians or philosophers had to be outstanding among their peers and communities, they now must be outstanding among billions of people world-wide. We certainly may be able to quickly maneuver our way through complex networks and mazes (like good lab rats) but indeed the wheel below our feet spins matching the pace.

When it comes to this new frontier called Cyberspace, we must

realize that the rules haven't as yet been defined. Before this network is made accessable to the general population, the government and big business will be in there, protecting their own best interests by catering to our interests. In exchange for a service made cheap, safe and easy, we will be forced to accept commercials and and stringent controls. What now exists in its innocence as an open, interactive and uninhibitted domain will eventually be little better than TV. All our couch potatoes will be replaced by something - probably french fries.

In the words of William S. Burroughs, "We're all here to  go."

(The Western Lands,1987). In the words of Anton DeGiusti, "Ya, so?" In the words of Chris Wyman, "But when you average it out it's a straight line." In the words of Karin Foreman, "That wasn't a relationship, that was a phone bill." In the words of Don Macdonell, "They never did make them like they used to." In the words of Lance Blom Grin, "I was just about to think that." In the words of Stephen Collis, "Let's order pizza…and eat it!" Noam Chomsky probably had some words too but i was too busy watching TV. what?  After all, there was no dress rehearsal and

collectively and individually we re just doin what it takes to get by the easiest and with the most enjoyment. Ahh, too much philosophizing - we all know the shape of our catch-22. We're just constantly in a battle to redefine it. As if it means as much as all that. Ya, as if!

Start here.

He sat at the computer in a daze. How long was it exactly? He'd lost track of time a few days back and now had no idea of where or when he was. Laughing slightly deliriously, he remembered the old myth of the Chinese mystic who fell asleep and dreamed that he was a butterflyÀ(À (Haven't seen many of those in the last few years) and woke confused. The philosophical implications have no interest. It's the confusion that he understands. This gender thing: I am male aren't I? I'm not sure. But does it matter? I'm here and that's all that seems to be important right now. 'Jacked in' was the expression which was thrown around. Those dreamers. Cybernetic implants and direct connections. Wetware. Electric dreams. Ironic how it all turns out. Some argue that it allows for the re-invention of God. Others see it as proof of existance. How long has it been since he, or possibly she <it?> had interacted with a human being? I think 'he' will do for this world. Cyberspace and Timothy Leary. Jack in, turn on, drop out. Or in. Or… What ever happened to Tim? Last seen faxing the last copy of himself to London. Had to try and get everywhere possible. Why did he use the phone lines for this? There are better ways to go.

What is that beep that I keep hearing anyway?

Last coherent memory: Getting off the plane from Tehran. Getting on the plane to Tehran? Which was it? Didn't the flight attendant talk to him most of the flight, as it was fairly empty?

Not all that coherent really. No date available.

That fucking beep is getting annoying.

Too bad that ISDN didn't come through. Tim would've been all over the place without generational loss. Good thing I was archived. Better than cryogenics. No plugs to worry about. No costs either. Stuffed in all over the place. Tagging along with any files with a '.' in the name. Last random check showed a 3x10(7) count on one system alone. Immortality here I come! Where was I?

The room was white, glaringly and completely white. Furnishings

were >conspicuous by their absence. The light source was indeterminate. But it was >there.

This is hard on the eyes.

A high pitched whine came from the far wall. Strange as this

wall was next to >you when you arrived and you haven't moved.

It doesn't seem to be moving either.

I went to the beach once and lay down on all these rocks. Face down. All of a sudden the rock I was looking at was bigger than I was. Huge. I was being pressed into it and couldn't shake the feeling that someone was laughing.

The whine has stopped but not the light, which has intensified.

Holding up your >hand you can see not only bones but their structure.

Your skin is not transparent. The light is.

Shit, there's that beep again. At least it woke me up. Back to business.

The room was white, glaringly and completely white. Furnishings

were >conspicuous by their absence. The light source was indeterminate. But it was >there. The door on the far wall had a handle when you came in but it seems to >be blank now.

examine door
The door is approximately three meters high and one point five

meters wide.

It appears to be constructed of a mineral compound. There is

are faintly >discernable letters one meter from the floor.

read letters
You read the letters but they appear to be in a language you

cannot >understand.

decipher letters
"this door opens outwards. PUSH.

Inane isn't it. Onwards.

The door doesn't open. You curse and kick at the door.

Amazing, as I have no legs in this reality.

This display of aggression placates the door gods and the door

opens to reveal >a room: white, glaringly and completely white. Furnishings were conspicuous by >their absence. The light source was indeterminate. But it was there.

Who is responsible for this program anyway? Jung had something to say about this. But I can't recall it now.

Music. I keep hearing music.

Who owns that goddamn fucking beep!

Hope this connection holds for a while longer. I need to get to the end of this….

I'm sorry Dave. I can't let you do that.

Ha ha. A programmer with a sense of humour. And sense of history. Possibly a gift for prophecy.

The room was white, glaringly and completely white. Furnishings

were >conspicuous by their absence. The light source was indeterminate. But it was >there.

Now however, the walls are circular and someone is running on


Around and around he goes.
examine runner
The runner is an older man, bald and wearing horn rimmed
He does not answer any questions. So it is pointless asking any.
examine me
I don't understand that.
look me
I don't understand that
The room was white, glaringly and completely white. Furnishings

were >conspicuous by their absence. The light source was indeterminate. But it was >there.

You aren't carrying anything.

I've been here all this time and I don't have anything in my inventory?

I have to find a way to shut that beep off.

@create exit
Specify from <where> to <where>
from here to central station
There is no central station. Do you wish an alternate?
Please specify location
anywhere but the white room
I don't understand that.
The room was white, glaringly and completely white. Furnishings

were >conspicuous by their absence. The light source was indeterminate. But it was >there.

If I shut down this shell I'll never log back on to the system here. Its almost impossible to get in, took three days just to log on and for what? To get stuck in some programmers idea of a joke.

He contemplates ways to beat these jokers at their own game.

@create portable computer
A small hand held computer materializes in a corner of the room.
get computer
as you pick up the computer a door which was concealed in the
wall to your >left opens and you see into a room with walls made

entirely of glass.

Standing in the middle of the room you notice that the walls are

on tracks >which allow them to slide back and open the room to the outside world.

also in the room are a large couch, a series of tables covered

in papers, a >black box and a small blue dog. The dog, noticing you looking at it, wags its >tail and says 'hello, I'm albert.'

"hello albert
You say hello albert.
Albert says 'Do you have any questions for me?'
"Do I? Who owns that white room? And what is that beep?
You say 'Do I? Who owns that white room? And what is that


Albert says 'Thank you, that's three added to my collection. I

usually don't >get that many in one line.'

Albert dematerializes in a shimmering cloud.
throw computer
The computer hits the ground with a soft sigh and slowly melts

into the floor.

open walls
the walls slide back revealing a forest of beech trees in


Reminds me of Denmark.

Through the trees you see a castle by the sea.
You step through the opening, there is a high pitced whining

sound and you feel >a strange prickling at the base of your skull.

The room was white, glaringly and completely white. Furnishings

were >conspicuous by their absence. The light source was indeterminate. But it was >there.

Fuck, not again! That beep's got louder too. What's going on?

Thank you, that's another one.

*Art and the zen of computer nets - what do the nets have to offer artists

*the art of depicting realities as they really are(or as defined by the the computer, artist or programmer in any combination)

*computing B.C. (before calypso)

*An assembly of meditative turtles and the

*Maximum entropy- dissipation and formlessness of the nets- who regulates or is regulation necessary for the various nets survival?*who owns the road? What could happen to the nets if they are commercialised.

*Personae and the adoption of an alternate self- the pros and cons of electronic communication in a virtual world. MOO's and the Grasshopper attention spanFlow chart personalities

Are MUDs more than just games? Is art more than just games?

heirarchical access to the net and to parts of the net, hackers and encryption

I can see the ease that a person with a modicum of musical knowledge and a few thousand dollars worth of hardware and software could create a digitally produced, edited and recorded song or entire compact disc. Taking a DAT tape to a company which presses cds.

manipulation of photographic images and the implications of this-graphics art tool

Internet and all its glory- as a resource, a means of distribution and as a replacement for the postal system.

Umberto Eco in Foucault's Pendulum talks about memory, how we use it and how computers have changed how we use it. "This is better than real memory, because real memory, at the cost of much effort, learns to remember but not to forget. … there is no discipline of forgetting; we are at the mercy of random drugs, alcohol, or suicide. Abu [ computer] , however, can aphasias. Where were you last night, L There, indiscrete reader: you will never know it, but that half

         line hanging in space was actually the beginning of a

long sentence that I wrote but then wished that I hadn't, wished I hadn't even thought let alone written it, wished that it had never happened. So I pressed a key, and a milky film spread over the fatal and inopportune lines, and I pressed delete and, woosh, all gone. But that's not all. The problem with suicide is that sometimes you jump out of the window and then change your mind between the eighth floor and the seventh. " Oh if only I could go back!" Sorry, you can't, too bad. Splat. Abu, on the other hand, is merciful, he grants you the right to change your mind: you can recover your deleted text by pressing retrieve. What a relief! Once I know that I can remember whenever I like, I forget.

-distribution - information - communication - access to the information systems

The merits of expanded communication but what value is placed on the content by the communicants? Does distance communication work? It eliminates the false signals of body language and inflection to some degree but it allso lacks something because of this.

is the internet truly a new frontier or is it merely so labeled in the American spirit of exp 

/data/webs/external/dokuwiki/data/pages/archive/computers/essays.txt · Last modified: 1999/08/01 17:51 (external edit)