Surf Art Continuity


GIF above originally posted by halgand_cc on 544x378webtv (archives, week of 07/13/2003 - 07/19/2003)

Back when we were debating the "internet surf clubs" on (conclusion: the Rhizome regulars said it wasn't art and if it was, it was something they invented), a commenter traced the idea of group image/may-or-may-not-be-art blogs back to the earliest days of blogging, late '90s-early '00s, in France I think. I first noted the phenom with 544 x 378 (Web TV) (see above). Nasty Nets came three years later, and added the term "internet surfing club" (pissing off a generation of academic net artists).

Tumblr blogs are too many and diffuse to be pigeonholed but their communal features and broad participation make the '06-'09 surf clubs seem creaky (the latter have drastically slowed their posting pace, anyway).

Now has taken the concept(s) and sped them up even more with the addition of a live chat feature. Putting images in chat has been around--Yahoo! had a feature where two chatters could work on the same drawing in real time, using paintbox controls--maybe it still does. allows image and GIF uploads to a single public chat screen (also webcam shots) and is simultaneously creating a tumblr-like blog archive for each chatter consisting of that uploaded content.

The changing speed of the discussion and image uploading is not for the old or weak of heart. Chat is hell for me due to an inability to express myself in thoughts under a paragraph. (Twitter is fine for one-liners but lousy for conversations.) With chat you have to mesh quickly with the "house vibe" and have no ego about losing your precious words and pictures quickly in a volatile stream.

"H.M.M.J. 1"

"H.M.M.J. 1" [5.6 MB .mp3]

Collaboration with Travis Hallenbeck: he came to my studio and we played a "live MIDI" set.

A desktop computer plays MIDI files that we prepared in advance of the jam. One channel goes out to my gear: the Sidstation synth and Mutator analog filter. All the rest of the channels go to Travis's setup, which includes a midi mixer and Roland MT-32 sound module (see YouTube demo and this diagram).

So it is a live performance in the sense that the computer is dispensing a stream of MIDI on-off notes and we are changing settings on our gear in real time.

I was recording the performance, and did some minor post-production mixing, mostly for EQ and levels.

Power of the Press

You probably read about the scanner humiliation beating.
Airport cops try out new full-body snooping apparatus; one sees that another's genitals are "tiny."
(Ostensible) big-package taunts (verified) little-package for weeks thereafter, day in, day out.
Tiny-package finally blows, beats crap out of big-package.
And guess who has a photo of his face plastered on Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo magazine?
Day after day?
(Hint: it isn't the sexual harasser.)
Talking Points Memo used to be a blog. Mostly pretty good, except Josh Marshall supported Bush's Iraq invasion.*
Now it is an online "magazine" and it's bad. It covers all the same topics the mainstream media does, in almost exactly the same way.

*You can buy a copy very cheap now of Kenneth Pollack's book The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq (the tome that convinced Marshall and other liberal dupes).