Monday, June 09, 2003

Impermanence, intimacy and revelations
A while ago, I installed Noah Wardrip-Fruin's Impermanence agent on my computer at work. There were a few little flaws in it when I tried to run it on a PC, but with a little help from noah I managed to make it run. Soon my surfing would be interrupted or perhaps rather commented on by the way the impermanence agent communicated bits and pieces of what I had been surfign through during the day.

But soon it started to feel too intimate. Although I had it on the work desk-top, where I don't conduct my shady side business of assassination and international espionage, the impermanence agent soon revealed a lot more about my surfing patters than I was comfortable with. Bits and pieces of sites I routinely check for changes and information would be punctuated by revealing material from the sites I equally frequently visited for recreation. And it soon turned up that my rhythm was: work related google search, newspapers - work-related - writing - procrastinational surfing - writing - recreational surfing - writing - not so important surfing - looking at what the impermanence agent comes up with - work-related serious stuff - writing....

Yes, the impermanence agent did make me view my own web-browsing patterns in a new way. Problem was, it became so intimate and revealing that I didn't keep it up. Perhaps is this a proof that it is art, and good art, because I don't like art that comes this close to me. I prefer to keep a distance, not understand and particularly not feel attacked and guilty. The impermanence agent was the nightmare of a guilt-ridden protestant Scandinavian like me.

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