Teleaction, according to Manovich, is a very different operation. This because it is a complicated operation used to access new media, representing a shift from representation to conceptual space with telecommunication. Manovich argues that real-time communication technologies (telegraph, telephone, television, telepresence, etc.) became subsidiary to technologies of representation (film, digital storage, etc) because of a shift in aesthetic. He relates this to definitions by Roland Barthes and Nelson Goodman deeming only finite objects as “texts” that can be “read.” But doesn’t the Internet and the increase use other real-time communication change all of this?
On December 9th, 1968 Douglas Engelbart gave a 90 minute live public demonstration at the Fall Joint Computer Conference at the Convention center in San Francisco. There they showed off many innovations including the public debut of the computer mouse. However the mouse was only one of many innovations demonstrated that day, including hypertext, object addressing and dynamic file linking, as well as shared-screen collaboration involving two persons at different sites communicating over a network with audio and video interface. This demonstration later became known as the “The Mother of All of Demos” because many of the innovations have become commonplace even today such as the mouse.
Doug Engelbart and his 17 researchers in the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, CA were working on what they showed since 1962. Engelbart began the presentation by mentioning how valuable it would be if a workstation at your disposal all day that was perfectly…responsive” meaning he’s trying to find out how computers can make humans smarter. Now we know the value of what Engelbart said because everyone assumes you know how to at least work a computer mouse. The goal of the demo was to show what they were working on can do rather than explain it. Engelbart does word processing with a “blank piece of paper” and types in words, shows cut, copy, and paste. Also he shows how the many different levels and views a file can be given. While doing this a mouse is being used in the same manner we use the mouse today. These elements are extremely commonplace today.
“The Mother of All Demos” gave public the first glimpse of what Steven Johnson calls information-space. Information-space is the set of concepts and relations among them held by an information system. Also the demo gave Doug Engelbart the reputation of being the father of the modern interface. Steven Johnson says interface in its simplest terms “refers to software that shapes the interaction between user and computer (14). The relationship between the two is a semantic one. The interface is like a translator between the two entities making one easier to understand for the other. This is only capable in the digital revolution and for the “magic digital revolution to take place a computer must represent itself to the user; in a language that the user understands” (14) and I think Doug Engelbart was able to accomplish this.
This representation the computer does to the user takes its form metaphorically. The string of zeros and ones that most people cannot understand are replaced by a metaphor of a virtual folder on a virtual desktop. These metaphors are “the core idiom of the contemporary graphic interface” (15). The importance of interface design revolves around the paradox that “we live in a society that is increasingly shaped by events in cyberspace, and yet cyberspace remains, for all practical purposes, invisible outside our perceptual grasp” (19). I think Doug Engelbart was able to help people grasp cyberspace by what he showed at “The Mother of All Demos”.
Stream of Engelbart’s demo http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8734787622017763097&q=engelbart#
The Ted Nelson GoogleTech Talk presentation was delivered on January 29, 2007. Nelson began his career in the computer world in the early 1960s; an era where the term hypertext or the concept of the World Wide Web was only a figment of ones imagination. Known as the man who “coined” the term hypertext, Nelson attempted to create a set of constructs for a new world of personal computing and a world of electronic documentation. Hypertext is defined as “machine-readable text that is not sequential but is organized so that related items of information are connected” (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn). However, Nelson thinks the world of such personal computing constructs has gone all wrong. In his introduction, Nelson states “The clearer your vision, the harder it is for you to explain.” He believes he is part of an elite group of “old-timers” or the original men who believe that they have a problem– that nobody sees their original vision.
However, certain misunderstanding have occurred in the present world that have skewed these old-timer’s visions regarding their original ideas for just how personal computing would take shape (back in 1960) and the trajectory it would follow in order to be the most efficient and productive system possible. In his presentation, Nelson addresses the issue of how we can best fix electronic literature, what the original vision for hypertext was and how he personally is envisioning a way to best redesign the “current copyright fights” through selective quotation ownership that “liberates and benefits everyone.”
Jodi is a collaborative creation by two net artists, Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans. Together, they have created original artwork via the Internet, using software art and computer game modifications as their main medium.
As predicted, Jodi faces many questions and panicked responses from viewers of their net.art. Can it be sold? Is it political? But most importantly (at least for me) is the question, what is this “net.art”? The interview addresses these questions.
The function of hypertext
We’ve been talking in class about the progression of media and how society has taken technologies from the past and, not only, built upon them but applied them to needs of today. Steven Johnson’s discussion of hypertext does exactly this. What is the function of hypertext? Johnson connects the ideas about a machine conceived by an engineer, Vannevar Bush, in 1945 to links on the Web. He argues that links have become a form of punctuation but have the potential to completely transform storytelling, or, more generally, how people relate to information.
Posted in Section II
Tagged association, hyperlink, hypertext, hypertext literature, interface culture, links, memex, Steven Johnson, trails, Vannevar Bush, web 2.0