[NetBehaviour] Distant

Edward Picot edwardpicot at beeb.net
Fri Mar 7 21:33:06 CET 2008

Marc -

I've come to this after a gap of several days, but I'd be interested to know why you would characterise it as a piece of Net Art rather than any other type of new media.

I mean, I like it. It's nice and simple to navigate, it's got unity of style (all the photos in black and white, all about the same size, and all with that zizzy cross-hatching shimmering away in the background), and I like the idea of cutting away all the human figures, and various bits of the landscape or cityscape, so that the background always seems to be bursting through. What I particularly like is the way that the sound is used. Given that the fizzy cross-hatched background seems suggestive of the net, interference/electricity, technology in general, the obvious thing to do would have been to have some kind of crackling static soundtrack, instead of which you've used recordings of actual things and places, often suggestive of events or objects which we can't see in the pictures themselves, and therefore seeming to flesh out the pictures with an extra dimension, suggesting "real life" in a way which the pictures themselves, cut away as they are, wouldn't. To me the most poignant screen is the one where someone's lounging on a river-bank, and we get the sound of the running water - it should be an idyllic scene - but both the figure on the bank and the river itself have been removed and replaced by the fizzy background. It's as if technology is like an acid eating away parts of life.

But why is it called "Distant"? Most of the photographs look rather old - they're black and white, of course. Does the title indicate that they refer to an earlier era, a simpler way of life which has now become distant from us because of technology? And, to repeat my opening question, why is it Net Art rather than any other type of new media?

- Edward
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