Click below it! No, below it!

Forget social networking for a moment, right now I’m, thinking about the asocial web in social space.

Definitely our love affair with screens can be a problem. At school I find it incredibly disturbing to walk past room after room of faces intently staring into monitors. Or walking by the cafe at night and seeing each face lit by the faint blue glow of a laptop. But what about when we crowd close and peer into the same screen?

Hit pause. Now hit play.
“Going Nowhere” – Al Larsen quicktime clip
Kitchen Distribution, Buffalo, NY 2/24/06

I mean, it’s so nice when the whole family can come together… a good meal, some jokes and reminiscences. After dinner we all gather in the living room and, inevitably, someone wants to show something to someone else and soon we are all gathered around the laptop.

You know the images of the 1940s family gathered round the radio? I don’t know the reality of it, but growing up in the tv age we were told that these pictures represent a lost era of conviviality. An era when people actually used their imaginations, when mom and pops and the kids all convened to hear The Jack Benny Show or The Adventures of the Shadow.

go! nowhereI’m sitting at my desk right now and I find this little monitor screen to be mighty immersive as I stare at it alone. But six or seven of us? Ah it’s a blessedly noise-ful experience. You can never get the angle of the screen right for everybody, that quicktime movie or flash animation suddenly seems really grainy and small… and waiting for something to load? It’s a comedy, really. Then of course there’s collective navigation. Click below it! No, below it!

I’m convinced we’ll lose this moment soon – innovation ruins everything. In the meantime I’m celebrating the loose ends and the noise they make.

go! nowhere
The principles of Extreme Programming require that two programmers work together on a project, one codes and the other watches and chips in. When it gets to the end, increment x. No, at the end.

OK, if it’s good enough for work and family, it should be worthy of a show. We already know about powerpoint presenters, “uh… next slide…” but let’s really move it into performative space – clicking through your favorite sites, dance party with the quicktime clips. Better yet, shouting instructions for where you want to go… Pause it! Pause it!

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