megan's blog

(belated) week 1

I am fascinated by the notion of longevity as it pertains to both physical and digital media. Carpenter writes about the existence of artifacts that were created outside of the museums or libraries in which they are now contained, and juxtaposes this with handmade web pages that "continue to exist in the medium within which they were created." She acknowledges that the frames through which we view digital materials continue to change as social, political, and cultural contexts shift over time, but I would argue that even before this modulation occurs due to the passing of time, the very circumstances under which a work was created is part of the medium itself. That is, a handmade work is special in part due to the temporal, spatial, mental, and physical contexts that are particular to the maker. So while web pages, even handmade ones, can be seen as perhaps more uniform or standardized than something like a zine, they are actually just as personal and idiosyncratic even when it is the same link being loaded simultaneously on different screens (and this is a beautiful quality!).

Old: This is the site for the UFO religious cult Heaven's Gate. Since its creation in 1998, the site has not changed. Its material is haunting, and diplays Carpenter's observation that print/digital realms had a more symbiotic relationship at the time when handmade web pages first emerged.

New: I love this! I was compelled to slow down, and it seems like a unique embodiment of a web page as a 'manual' or set of instructions required for the program to run, in this case for the user alongside the computer. It strangely replicates a very particular quality of the experience on everyone's screen! I don't think that window size is something that can be written into the code for a site (?)... as usually at most, the content of the site can be optimized for whatever the user's window size happens to be. But maybe this was more common for web pages in the earlier years, before optimization for browser dimensions was possible?