Inspired by Walter Benjamin', The Arcades Project, e-Arcades is a non-linear excursion into a realm of ideas about technology with a focus on computers and the internet.
Walter Benjamin, writing in the 1920's and 30's, used the Paris Arcades, as the focal point of a study of 19th century Paris. He constructed The Arcades Project by mixing many citations of other authors with his own comments, generating understanding as much by the content of a particular bit as its juxtaposition with other texts. For example, advertising copy might appear right before a citation from Frederick Engels. The quotes functioned as a bit of newspaper collaged onto a painting to provide concrete evidence from the past. Benjamin used montage and fragmentation as a new way to understand and write history.
Inspired by The Arcades Project, e-Arcades is a non-linear excursion into a realm of ideas about technology with a focus on computers and the internet. Borrowing Benjamin's methodology of juxtaposing quotes, e- Arcades illuminates the effect of our technologies on how we think as well as live. The site, using the dynamic functionality of the web, demonstrates this effect instead of describing it. Associations replace linear sequences. Variables replace static answers. The site has a clearly defined goal but not a final destination. The intent of the site is to generate an unexpected resonance between the quotes. This resonance shows the present moment in a way that can not be seen directly. The distorting effects of proximity can make it hard to grasp the cultural changes caused by technological growth. The strength of e- Arcades lies in the associations it creates between quotes, exploiting the most powerful feature of the web hypertext.
Each trip through e-Arcades will be unique. From the home page, the user enters the dynamic site. This second page, generated randomly from a number of key quotes concerning computer technology, presents the user with two to four links. The destination associated with each link is decided by the web application and is based on parameters set in the database. Where the link takes the user is not fixed but variable. It is chosen at random from a concept category. Similarly, the images that accompany each quote are chosen in a similar way, at random from a fixed grouping. The user's own choices determine the subject and direction of her experience with e-Arcades. As the database of e-Arcades continues to grow over the next several years, the site will record the diverse attitudes towards technological change as they shift and transform.
- Year Created: 2000
- Submitted to ArtBase: Saturday Sep 22nd, 2001
- Original Url: http://www.e-arcades.com/
- Permalink: http://www.e-arcades.com/
- Robin Michals, creator
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