Amerika Online


Network Resonance: Or, Reconfiguring Narrative Practice

Mark Amerika


For those who don't know, I just released a new web project called PHON:E:ME, an mp3 concept-art album with accompanying hyper:liner:notes at the Walker Arts Center's Gallery 9. This project was commissioned by the Walker Arts Center with additional support from the Australia Council for the Arts New Media Fund and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art in Western Australia. Also, the Jerome Foundation funded the production of the PHON:E:ME CD featuring the long (47 minute) composition I collaborated on with Erik Belgum. This CD production is the first release on the Alt-X indie music label and is available (cheap!) here on the site.

As Anne Burdick, who directed the project's interface design says, "unlike the print paradigm, in which the making of books is basically an industrialized division of labor performed at the service of the writer/ing, the decisions made on the new media assembly line play a much greater role in the outcome of the finished product. This is due in part to the lack of conventions but also to the fact that each person's contribution cannot be discretely divvied up when it comes to shaping the final form. It's the really cool interplay between the programming, the interface, the sound, the performance and the writing--EACH MUTUALLY DEFINING--that is so damn great!!!! (to me)"

Me too. This way, each individual's contribution, whether that be Cam Merton and Tom Bland's artistic programming, Burdick's design or the phonemic "remixes" of Belgum and Sydney-based DJ Brendan Palmer, can resonate with each other and with what is going in cyberspace-at-large. Belgum's take on the role of resonance in his "remix" helps accentuate the point: "Resonance, with its beautifully suited literary, musical, acoustic and linguistic (phonetic) connotations, seems to me a very rich resource and strangely absent from much western music, at least absent as a parameter that composers consider to be on par with pitch and rhythm." Is the author-function in fact being reconfigured such that it translates more as a "network-resonance" than the product of an "individual genius"? This is a question the PHON:E:ME project is constantly reformulating.

One of the experiments Belgum and I worked on was taking a critifictional essay I wrote for the Electronic Writing and Research Ensemble and using it as a textual prop (lyric sheet) for one of the longer sections of our composition, now called phone:me. In this particular version, I call Belgum in Minneapolis and read parts of the essay on his answering machine so as to really accentuate the phonic quality of the transmission. Then it went into the digital audio editing suite. The essay in its entirety can be read at the EWRE site.The PHON:E:ME website on exhibition at the Walker houses both the mp3 version and the high-bandwidth Real Audio stereo version of this excerpt and all of the other cuts. I'd suggest downloading or streaming the sounds while reading.

+++
 

THE.....

        WRITER .....

                        AS .....

                                PSEUDO-AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL .....




                                WORK-IN-PROGRESS



OR


THE WAR AGAINST TIME:  DYING BIT BY BIT IN THE NEW MEDIA ECOLOGY....


                                                   ( A VIRTUAL PLAY)



featuring

                        YOU (the reader/listener/co-conspirator)
                        ME   (the interactive fiction)


or how about


                        YOU (the interactive fiction)
                        ME   (the writer/co-conspirator)


Opening scene. An unreliable interface.

CLOSE-UP OF COMPUTER-MEDIATED ENVIRONMENT.  HOLD SHOT THROUGHOUT DISPATCH.

Voiceover:  "I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the introductory remarks concerning the dispatch I'm about to stream called 'The Writer As Pseudo-Autobiographical Work-In-Progress'...in this dispatch I am employing the practice of surf-sample-manipulate, that is, I am cutting and pasting myself into the data -- without aim.  This is a revolutionary practice..."

THE COMPUTER-MEDIATED ENVIRONMENT FLASHES THE FOLLOWING WORDS:

"Electracy does not replace literacy, but supplements it"





    "rugged exercise / specious gymnastics"


                        OR


    collaborative email performance


         as

        networked storyworld

                disseminated / distributed

        into the electrosphere

                (compositional space)


what    in the 80s      we called

                Mail Art

 morphed

        into

                Hypertextual Consciousness

       I link, therefore I am



        spinning letters
        sampling ideas
        mixing linguaggio

constructing ambient hyperrhetorical gestures

          (the fidgeting digits of the elliptical

                        (K)NO(W)MAD...)


                        OR

                the electronic writer as pla(y)giaristic DJ

                        OR

                theory-conductor

                        OR

 OR

                hypertextual garbage-man


                        OR

                reality hacker


"Now, as art becomes less art, it takes on
philosophy's early role as critique of life. As a
result of this movement out of art and back into
everyday life, art itself becomes integrated into
the workings of everyday life by situating itself in
corporations, universities, governments and the
vast electrosphere that houses the pluralistic
cultures they thrive on. So it's now possible to
reject the print-centric, paternal paradigm of a
distanced, objectifying, linear and perspectival
vision. In the age of network cultures, the eye
touches rather than sees. It immerses itself in
the tactile sense it feels when caught in the heat
of the meaning-making process. This
meaning-making process, which manifests itself
as kind of electronic media event one is
responsible for having created themselves as a
result of having become a cyborg-narrator
or avatar-presence in the simulated worlds of
cyberspace, is actually part of a greater desire to
become part of a socio-cultural mosaic."





Alt-X