Nothing You Have Done Deserves Such Praise

An occasional yet delicious pleasure when an email from Jason Nelson unfurls in my Inbox, he of sydney’s siberia and other digital creatures, and i made this. you play this. we are enemies (which means the last time I got an email from him was three years ago), and now a commission from Turbulence called Nothing You Have Done Deserves Such Praise. I played immediately.

I seldom see Flash on the internet anymore, which adds a sense of the archaic to his work, yet it suits perfectly; I can’t imagine having that same feeling of sublime and crappy if it was all HTML5 (though it might be possible and even look identical). It’s also been a long time since I last looked at his site, so without playing every game of poetry, I think Nothing You Have Done Deserves Such Praise, is his best yet. I ended by walking into a beige void and keeping walking, keeping walking, falling, falling, falling off the screen, nothing. I aspire to make art this good.

sydney’s siberia and other digital creatures

No, I don’t actually remember which Mac forum I discovered Jason Nelson and secrettechnology on. I do though highly enjoy receiving infrequent emails from him with his latest odd, poignant, beautiful pieces of art. Much happiness then, and wishing I had more time to play, when I discovered not one but three new pieces with Australianness… (yeah all nostalgic because of the too easily remembered winter and dreaming of Adelaide beaches and sun.)

Hope your world is more than curious.

I have some semi-newly birthed digital artworks/poems inspired by Australian locales to spread out across the net. And of course feel free to critique and/or send to anyone everywhere.

T: sydney’s sibera
D: an interactive and infinitely zooming digital poem

T: Birds Still Warm from Flying
D: an interactive/re-creatable poetry cube

T: wittenoom and the cancerous breeze
D: digital poem created from ten sections

again and as always you rock and cheers, Jason Nelson

oops teach me to be stupid…

That will teach me to brazenly copy-paste with no thought to the consequences. Wondering why new posts weren’t showing up, I discovered I’d replaced the index page template with the entire contents of my darling blog’s statically-generated page through some rather careless editing. Oops. Lucky I backed-up the templates, no?

It all looks… err… normal now, none-the-less, I stil get the delightful XHTML 1.0 Strict (oh yes it is), error that “there is no attribute ‘name'”. Well either I live with being invalid, or you live with no search function. Perhaps to entertain yourself by reading the stuff at the top of the right column? Yes, it’s coming along nicely.

(Meanwhile, thoroughly enjoying the feeling of being whipped from behind as I run for candy which is Things. I do love Merlin, but it’s a bit clobbering-ish for simple tasks like, ‘wax your legs’, and ‘fix the damage you did to your blog’.)

it degrades rather gracefully…

I noticed recently it’s been almost two years since I did this site design. That I’m not so bored with it yet, I guess speaks either of my limitless ability to avert said boredom, or that I managed to do something I still like. Yes, I would like to do something new, though I imagine i would be within the recognised set of possibilities springing from this, the previous design, and my love of monochrome.

More likely though, I’ll get serious about transferring over to WordPress. The search function on Movable Type (whatever archaic version I’m running) is abominable, the whole way it generates static pages is a throwback to align=centre and using tables to lay out content. But I’ve written so much by hand I’m not sure how easy it will be to carry this over to WordPress. My excuse therefore.

And a friend asked about the smart Flash titles I was using, courtesy of sIFR, and I said, “oh my version has probably been outdated”, which turned out to be prescient; version 3 is now current. The I noticed on Daniel’s laptop the titles were ‘degrading rather elegantly’ back to CSS. It was peculiar to see my site naked like this. And so I discovered Flash PlugIn 10 is not compatible. And so I need to upgrade sIFR3. uuuhhh… I’m wondering if I should just kick myself into transferring to WordPress?

(a slight addition)

I’ve spent a couple of hours working on upgrading to sIFR3, and… it wasn’t that difficult, so the title on the index page should be working, but…

Several things are obstacles I don’t want to attend to right now. The first is really my lack, at the time I first did this in keeping notes on the settings of the fonts I used, so I’m not sure for example if the date was done in Helvetica Neue or Helvetica Neue Light. There’s also a little weirdness in the date being displayed, which because of various other annoyances with my ftp I don’t feel like doing right now.

The biggest blah though is Movable Type. I forgot its delightful ‘rebuild’ function, which means to make the necessary changes, I need to rebuild every one of the couple of thousand of pages, and until it’s all working properly on one page, I’m not going to do this.

Actually it’s a good reason to change to WordPress, which does it dynamically, and the page templates split reuseable parts of pages, like the title and heading off into separate things, then combining them when the page is loaded.

Also might be a good reason to think about redesigning the site…

(a slight addition again)

More playing and finding it works but jumps around and breaks the formatting and other things that sIFR2 didn’t do, and well, it doesn’t seem worth fixing anymore on Movable Type when I plan to transfer to WordPress, so I’ll leave just the title working and delay on the rest until I a) make the move and b) do a site redesign. Something for winter…

supernaut #3 bug list

A couple of days ago, someone asked me why the search function wasn’t working here. The answer is Spam.

Dreamhost emailed me two weeks ago to say they’d turned off the Movable Type search because it was getting pounded by requests and thus putting a heavy load on their server. I had a look at my web stats and there was no way anyone could search that quick or in such a disconnected pattern from groups of single IP addresses unless it was automated, possibly cycling through single entry pages to spam the comments, which I haven’t had open or even installed for years.

So, currently no search until I get around to optimising it. You can always use Google like this: “search query”

Which brings me to other bugs and miscellaneous detritus of supernaut #3.

Not having MSIE, I can only check that this looks ok by using BrowserCam, which it does. I do have some CSS tweaking to do, particularly in terms of writing in the hacks for MSIE rather than using separate stylesheets. As I have craploads of grants/funding stuff/days embedded in Microsoft Word, don’t expect any of this to get done just because you won’t use a standards compliant browser.

Other miscellany: the “read the whole thing …” link needs to be styled. “…i whore for art” is not quite flush with the right margin when using sIFR. The navigation column underline below “About” sits 1 pixel below the underline for the first date entry, again because of a difference in using sIFR instead of HTML fonts. The “supernaut” title does a page jump under xhtml1.0strict doctype, when sIFR loads, probably the most obvious and ugly of all the bugs. Any image thumbnails prior to #3 aren’t fully styled because I had to put a div around them to get the solid background, and I can’t be arsed – yet – going through 1000 entries and fixing this. Finally, the full archives are so NOT finished. I haven’t really decided how to format this page, so it’s just sitting there getting moldy.

I’d love to have had a strikethrough for all of these kinks last month but … wtf, I do this out of an irrepressible compulsion/sense of obligation/attempt to create meaning in an empty life, not because I get paid, so either quell your browser-rage or give me a job. And of the almost 50 000 “Distinct Hosts” and 140 000 “page requests” I’ve given pleasure to this month alone, at least one of you must have some kind of commodity/currency exchange I can fulfill , even if it’s the second word after the ellipsis in supernaut … i whore for art.

edit …

(early april)

The full archives are so finished. In keeping with minimalism, they are now almost nonexistent.

I opened comments again, so now a whole raft of annoyances such as: I need to rewrite the css instead of having different sheets for different browsers, it’s too complicated, so hacks it is. XHTML strict doesn’t like the ‘name’ attribute, and prefers ‘id’, not much of a problem except it means redoing the comments javascript. I also need to put in some anti-spam measures, Comment Challenge I think.

supernaut #3 blinks in the numinous light

Having spent the last few days playing around with a new design, I thought I’d preview it now.

supernaut … i whore for art version #3

The basic idea was a very sparse, austere palette initially all grey-scale, but ending up with some cold, muted blues, and of course acres of white. The other basic idea was Helvetica. I have this memory of the mid-90s when the bad 80s were dispatched entirely with two giant slaps: Rayban Wayfarers and Helvetica Narrow. So coming back to the typeface of Confoederatio Helvetica I guess has been something due in part to my close proximity to its use in glorious airplane safety design as I sit in the exit row seats.

I mostly wanted to make more obvious the delineation between different elements, links, quotes, images, the content and the navigation menu. The progression of the link colours also is intentionally vague; what’s less important is faded and blurs into the background. Yeah, I know all the “web design should be high contrast” proclamations, I just wanted to see if visually I could communicate what parts of supernaut receive attention or are ignored. Probably it would be better to do it with algorithms, so the pages change colour, intensity, contrast according to inbound and outbound traffic, but I’m not that good at coding.

So, as I code my images in a way that google, baidu and other search engines get all lascivious about, the images are necessarily the stylistic equivalent of a bludgeon. Entry categories and search keywords, which don’t get much traffic are annoyingly faint.

Gory coding autopsy follow:

The headings – h tags – are mostly formatted using Shaun Inman’s sIFR – scalable Inman Flash Replacement, because … Helvetica Ultra Light! And a desire to use this rather handy piece of Flash-JavaScript-CSS typographic insertion.

“text-align: left” and “text-align: right” for content and navigation menu respectively, because the eroded crenellations guttering the length of the page are pretty.

Terror of Browser War! I really hate Internet Explorer, so you should feel really a) lame for using it (especially when a.1 Firefox, and a.2 Firefox Portable) and b) pathetically grateful I even made an attempt to rewrite my css so it would look only half-crap.

In all my poor and as-yet inelegant and unclean code then, supernaut #3 should look more or less the same in the following browsers: On a Mac: Safari, Firefox, Camino, Mozilla, Opera, Netscape. On a PC: Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, Netscape, AOL (snort). On Linux, Firefox, Konqueror, Mozilla, Opera.

Uh … Internet Explorer? Um yeah! On a Mac IE5.5 should look ok, with its own special stylesheet. On PC: IE 5 isn’t accepting its own stylesheet yet so looks a bit mong on the images. IE 5.5, 6, 7 all have their own stylesheet and should look ok-lah. IE4? Oh come on.

Some versions of some browsers suck. I had to make some cutoffs after which I don’t really care, so my guide was if a browser made less than ~1000 requests in December, I’m not bothering.

It’s valid XHTML1.0 Strict cos it sounds dirty, and css valid too. Also UTF-8 for happy font display.

Comments and stuff are welcome, especially bugginess in browsers. The only page up at the moment is the main index. Archives, categories, individual pages, etc all are lurking. More coding etc in the coming days in-between going to Adelaide again, writing grant applications etc.

edit …

Inadvertently sending the whole thing live way before I intended to, oh well always more fun being unprepared, no?

I was coding the individual entry templates and found there was no easy way to test it lurking somewhere like I could with the main index, so I just threw it up and debugged as I went. Plenty of coding errors to kill my eyes. I haven’t done the Categories or Monthly Archive indexes or the Search page. I was actually planning on not splattering this everywhere until I’d done those as the design I think needs to be a bit different to make it coherent … and blah.

edit #2 …

The entire site has been changed over to this design, but probably I won’t get a change to finish it up in one big chunk, so here’s where it’s up to:

I haven’t redone the css for msie browsers for the individual, categories, and monthly archive pages. I also haven’t finished styling the main archive page. There’s a bunch of small bugs, including the way the page jumps down when the sIFR titles load, which only happens if the page is given an XHTML1.0 strict doctype. Kinda weird. A few other link and type styling things to do too, but mostly this it it.

supernaut … i whore for art #3

I haven’t been blogging lately because I feel rather awkward with littering the internet with my private life, and I can’t be arsed writing about anything else, so I’ve been distracting myself with a combination of rock-climbing and redesigning supernaut, occasional bouts of drunkenness, a supremely good book that I know I enjoy in no small part because I get unix jokes and cryptographic theory (yes I’m reading Neal Stephenson again, my visa is maxed out and I’ll be buggered if I’ll spend $55 on Charles Stross’ now not-so-new book when most of the price is Australian-special-make-happy-occult-import-tax, therefore re-reading for the third time, etc), eating chocolate, wondering why I am mostly a failure at standard life stuff, suspecting the reason has something to do with aforementioned appreciation of unix jokes, planning on going to yoga, failing in execution of plans around 830am, thinking about eating, thinking my bike tires need air, failing in remedying this also, deciding the oblivion of sleep immediately preceded by a shower is not a poor choice when it all probably doesn’t mean anything anyway.

Those of you with sharp eyes and high tolerance of boredom will have plucked out the important morsel in the above paragraph, to which the title refers, and wonder if a simple browser refresh will display what I’m alluding to. No, it won’t. Possibly some time next week the all-new, derivative, annoyingly designed in too-small and poorly contrasting fonts on a blindingly complicated fully-fucking Web2.0 socially-networked, tagged like a corpse, responsible for the next California brown-out, supernaut.

Actually it’s all in Helvetica Neue on a plain white background, with nothing fancy at all, though probably just as annoying.

Cunnilingus in North Korea

The empyre mailing list went spastic in the last couple of days with the pornographically titled Cunnilingus in North Korea. It all started with this email from Young-hae and Marc of YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES and pretty much went into the arse-licking gutter from there. One of the great moments in net-art for 2005.

We’re open to discuss anything with anybody — oh, except for sex, politics, money, ourselves, Internet technology, critical theory, including the global versus the local trans-anything, post-everything, deconstruction, nomadism, gender, C, C++, Maya, claymation, GATS, intellectual copyrights, and the latest North Korean test missile. Shoot.

— Young-hae and Marc

This is a Magazine

This is a Magazine is the best magazine in the world! Somehow I missed issue 12 – (I promise that) Hardcore (Conceptual art will make a comeback very, very soon), and now issue 13 – Show me your reality, I’ll show you mine is out, so it’s double happiness today. Lots of Flash, conceptual art, fashion, words and pictures in low-fi downloadable takeaways. This is a Magazine: the internet at its finest.