I've been working on a site, a 'homepage'. The original version allows for visitors input. There were several series of images, and the visitor was invited to write the story that goes with the pictures. The programmer that was doing the database has not yet finished the work, and I got impatient, so I did a new version, without the option of input.

I think art is experienced in the context of the culture it is created in, and is exhibited in. For me, this community is the essence of web culture. I'm addressing issues of public and private, as experienced in the context of home/home on the net/homepage. I was thinking about all the words that we send out into the world, and how once they arrive in someones inbox, they are no longer in our control, and the inbox owner becomes the owner of the words. I was trying to create the feeling of my inbox, where professional and personal posts mix, where msgs are stacked, and I read everything together, creating a new experience of continuity.

Another issue I'm trying to talk about is space, cyberspace. The constraints of the monitor screen. The way what we see is very black or white. we must wait for the page to download, there is this interval. The interval sometimes becomes the central experience. I divided the screen into frames, each frame is a small 'world'. Things happen all at once, or in the order that they download. I'm playing a subtle, manipulative game. The visitor may feel a sense of control over what he sees, but of course, it is not real control, or significant interactivity. I wish I understood the nature of true interactivity, and had the technical knowledge to build a database that would allow it, but I can't and don't. So for now I'm creating illusions.

I love the idea of email as art, email being used in different interactive, creative ways. Over the last two years, this community has developed into a rich source of content for artists to portray in different ways.

I can see messages on a huge sculpture, messages taken from different places combining to make interactive stories, messages made into sound files and put to music... I consider anyone who would look at Socks and want to make it into another artistic or educational form to be doing us a great honor, and I am humbled and deeply moved that people are considering this.

I hope all the artists here to feel free to let their imaginations fly and---following the copyright laws---create email as art. It is a great concept. I am not sure how many people do it. Might be one of those pioneer things, and I love that. I live for being a trailblazer. It is like hang gliding into the wind.

I want to go places with interactivity that have not been visited before. I want people to take risks and try new ideas. I want this to be a safe environment where people will feel comfortable testing something, perhaps making mistakes, and then try again until it hits.

It is OK to make a mistake. No bother. No apologies necessary. The more important thing is that the artist valued us enough to dream. That is what is so inspiring and what makes us special.

The thing about the copyright law that is so important, however, is that if the writers here were not secure that they had the choice over what happened to their words---to keep them private to just the list, or to have them used in another project---they would not write, and we would be in big trouble.

It is amazing to me. Sometimes I think of Socks and I think, "We are so strong." And then I think, "We are so fragile." The trust dynamic in online communities is at once powerful and vulnerable. And again, as in so many things, we are stuck with trying to find the balance. For me, copyright law provides an already thought-out, written-out path to this balance. It does the philosophical work, so we don't have to. :-)

Dream on, folks. I look forward, with deep appreciation, to all the ideas, art pieces, interactive environments, and poetry that can be made out of Socks. They are a sign of strength, beauty, vitality, and my reason for being online---souls touching across wires.

Text Only Version of Voices