[NetBehaviour] Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Dysfunction.

info info at furtherfield.org
Thu Aug 4 13:34:33 CEST 2011

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Dysfunction.

by Brian Stefans

If the comedy of subjection asks “how fast?” the comedy of dysfunction 
asks “how broken?” and exploits the very slipperiness of web design and 
programming — the way the web browser and computer screen subvert the 
best intentions of digital creators to make their products look good and 
run well. In the early days of the web, graphic designers had to learn 
quickly that their beautiful Illustrator or Quark creations had a 
variable appearance when accessed on the web — each browser rendered 
colors, tables, and other aspects of the design differently; of course, 
there being screen sizes as small as 800×600 in the day, some computers 
crunched the most sublime constellations of text and image into barely 
recognizable mélanges of color and text. In addition, JavaScript and 
Java, the languages of choice for basic interactivity, had to be 
debugged across several platforms. Things have changed since Web 2.0, in 
which cross-platform technologies like Flash and WordPress have rendered 
some of these concerns moot, but nonetheless the possibility of 
dysfunction — due to hackers, for example, who can replace the front 
pages of even major websites with misinformation and garbage — remains a 
steady concern of artists keen on exploiting our increasingly distant 
relationship with the concreteness of print.


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