The art of being content
If the internet is about both telecommunication and a narrative networked environment, then it is interesting to see wether there can be a discourse between communication technology and artistic intentions. it is quite common now to look at media art in the context of fine arts. I think however that there is much more relevancy with other art forms, like performance, music, moving image and most of all literature.
When the internet was text only, the world seemed much simpler. People used the intternet to search through databases,to send messages or post text to discussion groups. The internet as the ultimate extension to telephony. Global communication through the keyboard. Images, or even live audio and video were simply impossible since the phone lines and modems were too small to carry these massive data. But then, what do artists do with this given fact. Most of what we refer to as art, were basically a few arranged text characters, one could say ‘pictograms’. They are used to express or indicate in messages or on chat channels. Frequent users of the internet are using these pictograms intensively. They save time and along with many abbreviations they make live communicqation through phone lines, modem, computer, screen and keyboard. This is, for your understanding, also a reality without mice. It demands from the user to read and while reading and writing.
The ASCII Art Ensemble is a loose company of artists and engineers. Our original intention was to create moving images for old, text only computers and terminals. With this in mind we found software and soon started to develop new tools. Worth mentioning here are deep.ASCII, the text only version of deep throat and the ASCII.videocam, which converts any video signal into text. The result, text, can be played back in the Asciimator, a java player, which actually scrolls back the text at the same frame rate as the original video or film. Latest projects are ASCII.television, which refurbishes old television sets and enhances them by adding a microcomputer which converts any signal into text, and TEXT2SPSYNT2MPEG2SPR2TEXT, a long term project where text is being send to another user via a big detour. First the text is picked up by the computer and is then sent to s speech synthesiser, which then feeds into a mpeg stream. Concurrently we woould like to reverse this: upon receiving the audiostream, the signal is analysed by speech recognition software, which converts the sound into text. Ofcourse the outcome of this communication is not 100%.
Walter van der Cruijsen, 02 september 2001.
Framework text for P0es1s, Kassel/Berlin 2001