TechnoPoetics

Loom and Doom

 Neath Layer

Ghosties

Abstracts

--GhostDance image adapted from Digital Mosaics:  The Aesthetics of Cyberspace by Steven Holtzman.

Excerpts from a discussion in MediaMOO
Saturday, May 12, 2001

Gracie is Jay Cox
Meg is Megan Hughes
Kafkaz is Kathy Fitch
Ghostess is Kafkaz's emissary

 

In the Spirit

Kafkaz hopes you will talk with Ghostess
Meg nods
Kafkaz hopes *that's* not true
Ghostess says, "well, here's the thing"
Meg says, "what's the thing?"
Kafkaz goes to look for a bit to paste

------------------------Kafkaz-----------------------------------
The neath text is to some forbiddingly technical and automated. Yet the ghostie may appreciate it, the ghostie neath and above and around the neath text.--from Jim Andrews' Infoanimism
------ Kafkaz stops pasting ----------

Kafkaz says, "I'm writing about technopoetics"
Kafkaz says, "And I wanna say that . . ."
Ghostess says, "not everybody wants to be a ghostie"
Meg doesn't want to be a ghostie
Kafkaz says, "Or, basically, that the "neath" text, by which he means the coding and composition we don't see, can be offputting to some."
Ghostess is deeply insulted
Ghostess says, "some of us like being ghosties"
Kafkaz [to Meg]: you, for instance, with your MOOing ways
Kafkaz thinks Meg has definite ghostie possibilities--getting in touch with the spirit of e-text
Kafkaz says, "He's talking about the source layer--the composition the typical viewer never sees."
Kafkaz says, "And I'm writing about technopoetics, and also about the extent to which we *should* reveal the code, as it were, so that the sort of work we do--in MOOs, on the Web, etc.--can be recognized as truly scholarly, academic, all that jazz."
Ghostess is a definite ghostie, as you can see.
Kafkaz holds up a BIG cow: This is a layer I wouldn't usually reveal.

Tangled and Dark

Meg says, "what does "neath" mean?"
Meg asks a potentially stupid question
Kafkaz hmms
Kafkaz says, "Good question"
Kafkaz says, "Here's the link http://www.vispo.com/animisms/enigman/EnigmanInfoanimism.html "
Kafkaz says, "By neath layer he means the code layer--not the pretty thing we see in our browsers, the final result, but the composition."
Kafkaz says, "And the principles that drive it, too--the aesthetic, the poetic, the technique."
Ghostess says, "and some like that--the ghosties--but some find it forbidding, offputting. It's a layer they'd never engage with."
Kafkaz says, "Basically, I wanna play with that idea"
Ghostess says, "and so do I"
Kafkaz says, "The extent to which we--or others--are ghosties."
Meg hmmms.
Kafkaz says, "Here's the full essay."Gracie doesn't even understand it.
Meg says, "our online selves as ghosts?"
Kafkaz says,"http://www.vispo.com/animisms/enigman/EnigmanInfoanimism.html"
Kafkaz [to Meg]: hmm--hadn't thought of it that way, but yes, I think so.
Gracie is not a ghost.
Ghostess is
Meg says, "that we have properties as MOO characters that show a source code, that set us up with basic abilites/principles?"
Kafkaz says, "But, I'm not sure whether I am, or not."
Kafkaz [to Meg]: ya--but not just that.
Kafkaz says, "He's not writing about the MOO, though I think his essay encompasses this."
Meg says, "my online self is an emissary of my real self, right? this is simply a representation of me, created partly by the nature of the MOO, and partly how I write myself into existance?"
Kafkaz says, "The question, really, is to what extent we need to articulate and reveal a poetic"
Kafkaz nods to Meg. 
Meg ignores her spelling, and tells others to do the same
Meg wonders if she is helping
Kafkaz thinks you are
Kafkaz says, "I know that I'm drawn to the layers--wanting to peel them back"
Kafkaz says, "But, I'm no code poet"
Kafkaz is a rank beginner, really
Gracie is still in the dark.
Kafkaz says, "But I also know that, as a teacher of teachers, revealing too much of the code level scares hell out of folks."
Ghostess says "ghosties can be scary"
Meg is a beginner, too. But it is interesting that we can exist and be readers and interact with no knowledge of the neath, right?
Kafkaz [to Meg]: yes!
Kafkaz says, "Question is whether "can" might also be "should""
Kafkaz says, "or whether "can" should be *undone*"
Kafkaz says, "Is it okay to have no knowledge of the neath?"
Gracie thinks that people who don't have a clue about how this environment works, or the inclination to learn a bit about it, are ghosts.
Kafkaz likes how Gracie reverses things

Code Poets?


Meg says, "layers are revealed when you come to see that some characters have capabilites that you do not. Or when people (gracie!) tell you to describe yourself. When you explore building, then programming."
Kafkaz nods to Meg--yes, that's true.
Gracie says, "but describing yourself is one of the BASIC conventions of MOOing"
Kafkaz says, "So the layers unfold as interest and experience deepen."
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: everybody begins somewhere.
Kafkaz begins a whole hell of a lot, it seems
Kafkaz says, "Would a web poetic or technopoetics help legitimize this work--for T&P, for instance . . ."
Kafkaz says, " . . .Or"
Gracie [rilly rilly nice] eyes you warily.
Meg says, "an acceptance? a wider critical recognition?"
Kafkaz says, "Or does getting too "deep in the code" lose people? Could it hurt?"
Meg says, "which people are lost?"
Gracie says, "how is a "poetic" anything about code?"
Kafkaz is thinking yes a poetics for academics
Kafkaz says, "But no for fac development"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: oh, hmm
Kafkaz says, "Well, a poetics, you know."
Kafkaz says, "Principles of design--aesthetics"
Meg thinks writing code is a poetic
Kafkaz says, "Only on the production end"
Meg says, "there is an art...like staying in a form and altering things for unique effects."
Kafkaz realizes that "poetics" is now applied to everything, and thus hard to tie down.
Kafkaz nods to Meg
Gracie says, "no, writing code is programming"
Kafkaz says, "Yes, and layers of effort that often aren't understood or appreciated"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: isn't programming an art?
Meg [to Gracie]: programming as an art form.
Gracie says, "it has its aesthetic"
Meg says, "like filmmaking."                                                                       Gracie says, "but no, it's not art"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: ah!
Gracie says, "because bad code *doesn't work*"
Kafkaz smiles at Gracie
Meg says, "bad art doesn't work"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: that's it!
Meg grins
Kafkaz loves you guys, really does                                                           Gracie says, "it's not like going to a movie and blowing raspberries at the screen"
Gracie says, "you need to someone who is a skilled programmer about this"
Kafkaz says, "So, it has a functional level--and there's no escaping from techne into poesis?"
Gracie says, "because they will tell you that yes, there are elegant ways to write code"
Kafkaz nods
Meg says, "that is the form. You have to conform to a form, like conforming to a genre. But there is freedom within form or medium..."
Meg says, "is art automatically non-funtional?"
Gracie says, "no it's not like genre"
Gracie says, "genre is subjective"
Meg says, "how?"
Gracie says, "if I get the command wrong on the MOO it says I DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT."
Gracie says, "NO connection, no response...."
Gracie says, "failure"
Gracie says, "not just *bad* code"
Meg says, "can't art fail?"
Gracie says, "I'm not talking about art at ALL"
Kafkaz [to Meg]: not in the same way, though, hey?
Kafkaz [to Meg]: I could paint something that sucks . . .
Kafkaz [to Meg]: and hang it on the wall
Kafkaz says, "failure in coding goes nowhere"
Kafkaz nods to Gracie

Aesthetics, Poetics, and Etiquette

Kafkaz [to Gracie]: you want art
Gracie says, "no, not art"
Meg asks, "convention?"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: convention is an aspect of genre
Kafkaz [to Meg]: which you were talking about earlier
Meg looks around guiltily
Gracie says, "genre is too fancy"
Gracie says, "category"
Gracie says, "type"
Gracie says, "kind"
Meg really, really doesn't want to describe herself.
Gracie says, "then say so"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: expectation?
Gracie says, "but take the default message off. Your lack of a description doesn't say I don't want to describe myself"
Gracie says, "it says I am a newbie"
Gracie says, "expection, yes"
Gracie says, "not exactly genre"
Gracie says, "like we expect the book to start at the beginning, or have some reason for shifting that around"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: manners? norms? etiquette?
Kafkaz ahs
Kafkaz says, "purpose"
Meg exclaims, "look at me now!"                                                            Gracie [rilly rilly nice] giggles at Meg
<<a student, teacher, beginning programmer, bank teller, and resident of the Eiffel Tower.She is awake and looks alert.>>
Kafkaz grins at Meg
Gracie exclaims, "oh, there ya go!"
Gracie says, "you could also say @describe me as Someone who really doesn't want to describe herself."
Meg knows this, but decided to simply list various jobs instead
Kafkaz . o O ( @describe me as nondescript )
Gracie asks, "anyhoo, am I making sense?"
Kafkaz nods to Gracie--you are!
Gracie [to Meg]: I figgered you did!
Meg hugs Gracie for blessing off

Of  Tools and  Design

Gracie asks, "so will you PLEASE tell me what your presentation is about?"
Meg doesn't think Gracie was hard
Kafkaz giggles
Ghostess says, "technopoetics"
Gracie says, "right, to which I say, ok fine, whatever"
Gracie says, "the great divide:"
Gracie says, "programmers and techies = *snort* no poetics, it's right and wrong"
Kafkaz is actually arguing that techne *is* poesis
Kafkaz nods to Gracie
Meg likes the word technopoetics.
Gracie says, "and rhettors will talk all day about granular and poetics and the like"
Gracie [rilly rilly nice] grins.
Gracie says, "but it's *still* all metaphorical"
Gracie says, "what you are talking about"
Kafkaz says, "http://sites.unc.edu/~technopoetics/"
Gracie says, "and hard code is code, all the time"
Kafkaz says, "He's a techie--he wants a poetic"
Kafkaz nods to Gracie--yup. And I don't think we all have to do or know "hard code"
Meg deletes her blathering
Kafkaz isn't gonna make the "hard code/code is hard" pitch in a workshop, for sure
Gracie says, "no because you rely on technies to do the programming..."
Gracie says, "you, generic you"
Gracie says, "one relies"
Meg would like to be both
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: and that's what Dan is arguing is a no-no, and Erin, too
Kafkaz . o O ( Dan Anderson, Erin Smith )
Gracie says, "hard code = the code itself"
Gracie says, "not that code is hard"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: I use FrontPage
Gracie beams
Kafkaz isn't really, then, coding
Gracie knows HTML
Meg is poor...I use composer, before that HTML
Kafkaz knows a bit, but not a lot
Gracie says, "no, but you are using a tool"
Kafkaz says, "Erin said "no tools""
Kafkaz grins
Meg grins.
Gracie says, "and if you used better tools, you could get to some of the fine points"
Gracie says, "but for now, you're doing techne"
Meg [to Gracie]: me? or you=us both?
Kafkaz asks, "But, why not--if I wanna weave, why not a loom?"
Gracie says, "and someone with your aesthetic but better skills would be doing more advanced techne"
Meg says, "Kaf saw my page. It is pretty rudimentary"
Gracie asks, "so, your presentation is to get faculty interested in doing HTML?"
Kafkaz hmms
Gracie says, "a rudimentary page can look nice"
Gracie says, "hang on... got a link for you"
Meg says, "how do I do a URL"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: sure--sometimes better skills lead to too much mess, especially at first
Kafkaz [to Meg]: just paste it in
Kafkaz [to Meg]: it will show up as a link in some clients
Meg says, "http://english.sxu.edu/~hughes"
Meg says, "there it is."
Meg thinks maybe the server is down, so just take my word for the simplicity of the page.
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: no, I don't want to interest faculty in doing html
----------------------------------Gracie-----------------------------------
http://www.humorchannel.com/webtek/index.html
------ Gracie [rilly rilly nice] stops pasting ----------
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: I actually want to say that if I went that route, virtually no one would ever venture a web, or ever get the chance to be intrigued by the rest of the layers.
Gracie asks, "that route being...?"
Meg says, "the HTML first route"
Gracie says, "you don't have to know how an internal combustion engine works to drive a car"
Meg agrees. I spent the last six weeks teaching webfolios, and teaching students to tolerate composing in Composer and FTPing was more than enough.
Gracie says, "lots of ppl sneer at you if you don't know why it broke down, but you don't have to know"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: that's. . .
Kafkaz holds up a BIG cow: * exactly my point*|
Kafkaz grins at Gracie
Gracie says, "ok, then we agree"
Gracie says, "but don't go all gooey with technopoetics here"
Kafkaz says, "But, you gotta drive to get good at driving"
Gracie says, "until you race at Indy, you're still just a user"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: I'm trying to ungoo it, actually
Gracie [rilly rilly nice] grins.

Not Necessarily Art

Gracie asks, "did you look at that link I proffered?"
Gracie is sooooooo glad you all understand... because I almost do.
Gracie [rilly rilly nice] grins.
Meg says, "I did."
Meg says, "BUSY"
Gracie says, "it's worth taking your time and reading *every* bit of it.... with no multi tasking"
Gracie [rilly rilly nice] grins.
Meg asks, "really?"
Gracie [rilly rilly nice] nods solemnly.
Kafkaz grins at Gracie
Gracie says, "a big lesson in HTML design there"
Meg [to Gracie]: what is the lesson?
Gracie says, "you just need to read the whole thing...."
Meg wants to skip the reading and get to the quiz answers
Gracie says, "and look at the URL too"
Meg says, "saw 1800 Dip shit..."
Gracie says, "sorry, it's a granular lesson"
Gracie [rilly rilly nice] throws her head back and cackles with insane glee!
Kafkaz laughs at Gracie
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: did you make this for a "how not to" or something?
Gracie says, "it's not mine"
Kafkaz thinks it's a riot
Gracie says, "I laughed until I cried and disturbed office peace"
Meg is laughing.
Gracie says, "everything about it is soooo classically The Wrong Thing To Do That We've Seen 1000 Times"
Meg says, "what music does it play? It won't play on my computer."
Gracie says, "it's just cheesy music"
Meg nods
Kafkaz blinds herself on Grafix page
Meg laughs and laughs!
Gracie snorts. Twice.
Gracie asks, "it's so perfect, isn't it!?"
Gracie says, "like PDQ Bach"
Meg has to pass this along!
Kafkaz grins test-i-monials
Kafkaz will be sure to work this one in
Gracie says, "so, that's what can happen when HTML goes very very wrong"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: but it's right
Gracie says, "when someone learns too much of one thing, and not enough of another"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: cause it works
Kafkaz giggles
Gracie says, "yes, it works"
Meg [to Kafkaz]: with the flags!
Kafkaz drives without paying attention, but drives
Gracie salutes
Gracie says, "but you pay attention"
Gracie says, "with part of your brain"
Gracie says, "someone handed the task of doing a web page and Front Page runs the risk of producing something like that"
Kafkaz says, "the zen of driving"
Gracie says, "or something not so bad"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: oh, no
Gracie says, "but equally canned and Front Pagey"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: nope, nope, nope
Gracie can spot a canned background from 50 paces.
Meg laughs
Kafkaz says, "I think it's possible to talk basic design issues without driving at Indy"
Gracie says, "sure is"
Meg laughs thinking of the webfolios those students made...
Kafkaz has zero problem with canned backgrounds, if they're nice, but prefers white, usually.
Gracie says, "but they are students"
Meg ignores blinking Homer Simpson heads
Gracie says, "students are supposed to learn by doing, by making mistakes"
Kafkaz [to Gracie]: so are teachers who are just learning--they are *students*
Gracie [rilly rilly nice] nods to you.
Meg says, "these are students who are becoming teachers. But, they don't know if it is wrong if no one tells them"
Gracie pours a perfect cup of coffee and hands it to Kafkaz
Meg doesn't have the heart to tell them about all the blinking.
Kafkaz [to Meg]: and so, we can move slowly, introduce bits
Gracie pours a perfect cup of coffee for herself.
Gracie [rilly rilly nice] stares distractedly into her cup.
Kafkaz needed that coffee just then
Gracie pours a perfect cup of coffee and hands it to Meg
Gracie [rilly rilly nice] holds her cup to her nose, inhaling the fragrant aroma.
Meg thanks Gracie
Meg exclaims, "their graphics are out of control!"
Gracie says, "it's great"
Gracie asks, "really makes the point, eh?"
Gracie is tempted to hire them
Meg [to Gracie]: not on that page! On my students' pages!
Meg grins. Gracie [to Meg]: OH
Gracie says, "well, show them this page"
Gracie says, "and say take a hint"
Meg [to Gracie]: They are working to get it to, well, WORK, so I don't want to tell them.
Gracie [rilly rilly nice] . o O ( here's my cat and my favorite pic of Britney Spears )
Meg laughs
Gracie says, "right function is first"
Gracie adds a comma there
Meg nods to gracie
Meg . o O ( MY COOL STUFF! )
Gracie says, "but it's not like the first guy to write a poem that didn't rhyme"
Gracie says, "about web pages, one needs to listen to a few tips from experts:"

Gracie says, "white background"
Gracie says, "good navigation"
Gracie says, "and purposeful text and links"
Gracie says, "and images"
Kafkaz . o O ( understatement )
Gracie says, "and that is composition"
Gracie says, "but it's not necessarily art"

Not Necessarily Art

TechnoPoetics

Loom and Doom

 Neath Layer

Ghosties

Abstracts

A Big Cow for Charlie

Kathy A. Fitch 
Assistant Professor of English   Liberal Arts Division   College of DuPage  
FitchK@cdnet.cod.edu  Kafkaz@kwom.com  
05/16/01