Sunday, January 22

thoughts on art in a world of flawed hypertext and assumptions

I regularly preocuppy myself with technical matters - improving the details of structure & toolset, the hardware & software - when I should just be using the tools I've already worked out. Having arrived at a few basic forms of expression and a platform capable of supporting them, I think it would be better to create than to work out superficially more sophisticated ways of creating.

In a related way, there is a referential and repetitive quality to much of what I do create; a tendency to create structure which leads somewhere else or endorses some other creative act.

I think these tendencies could be generalized to much of the web-using creative population. Some rough thoughts for a more interesting approach:

  • Use your tools rather than focusing on them. Examine things beyond the scope and domain of the tools themselves.
  • Use your tools with restraint.
  • If someone else just said it, you probably don't need to say it. Much does not, in fact, bear repeating.
  • Be a primary source.
  • Hypertext decays rapidly. External resources will go away. Your writing is likely to be set adrift, so provide context. Be unafraid to quote and archive. Make reference to physical resources. A URL is not a substitute for naming names and stating facts.
  • Don't overquote.
  • A gloriously complex empty framework is still empty. Real content in a simple framework creates its own complexity.
  • "Content" is usually a misleading and destructive term. You are creating art, history, poetry, journalism, pornography - something with more meaningful characteristics than mere quantity, which is the only possible metric for something as amorphous as "content".
  • The world outside the internet is interesting. Document it.
  • Your experience is interesting, perhaps especially where it is not dominated by other people's art.
  • Clarity and humility are related virtues.