Digital media force us to look at traditional media in a new light,
both in terms of how works of art and design are produced and how
users receive those productions. Digital media’s ability to subsume
the functionality of many other media means that artists and designers
have an extraordinarily powerful tool with which to work; at the
same time, a tendancy to focus on functionality has retarded the
development of both a mature aesthetic and a conceptual framework
specifically suited to this new form of communication.
Dynamic Poetry explored the consequences of developing a computer-centric
aesthetic while simultaneously improving functionaity. Composed
equally of theoretical and historical investigation and practical
experimentation, the Dynamic Poetry project investigated ways of
re-designing the inscribed word for a computer-based environment.
As the many attempts to make a useful electronic book have shown,
simply transposing words from the printed page to the bit-mapped
screen does not create an expanded reading experience. Instead,
these attempts accentuate the failings of the machine and fail to
leverage its strengths. Furthermore, when text appears alongside
sound, video and animation, it becomes very evident that the behavioral
and temporal possibilities of text have not been well explored.
In well-designed computer-based work, one can see how most of the
major components establish presence through movement and change.
Yet, hyperlinking and deconstructive fonts aside, the text in digital
media remains as inert and commonplace as it has in 450 years of
Part of the maturation process for the digital medium will require
that text move beyond what we expect of it from its life in the
printed environment. Those who work with text in the digital environment
will need to developed a more nuanced understanding of interactivity,
particularly in the confluence of program dynamics, user responsiveness
and time control.