technological and social / technológiai és társadalmi


Pronounciation: ‘fut’, or: A Tool and its Means

An interesting experience this has been - a journey of sorts. I chose to do this piece almost randomly when I saw the call for entries at Artpool on a web exhibition to be called “Feet/Footware”. It’s a theme I would never have come to myself, and thus I decided to pursue it and (hopefully) find a new path to venture...
And that I did: my first inclination was a rather humorous one as, besides having a shoe fetish and a penchant for red toenails, feet do not, generally, occur to me - in literal terms that is. Metaphorically, of course, they do quite often as a signifier - re: time, state of being and all of that.
This being a web work, I decided to ‘let my fingers do the walking’, as it were - what a place this cyber (alt.!) world is! I would almost say that the web has a mind of its own, depending on how you pursue the HOARDS of information abounding within. Aaanyway: the obvious way to begin this journey was by typing the word ‘foot’ into various search engines and directories. What I found was that almost every site listed was about the foot as a physical object/body part. I was surprised as I expected that it would occur as a metaphor a lot more often - in writings and such. I suppose this assumption on my part had to do with my own sense of the word ‘foot’, and also because I think of the web as a place oriented much more towards the head than the body - and yet reference to it (the body) proliferates. Why? Just because it’s a source of (generally) instant information access? Does this encounter reflect a prevailing materialism /corporeality in the mind of man as he forms this new resource? I thought this media/um was the brain child of nerds, that it would evince its origins as a BRAIN child in it’s various manifestations - science, art, thought, ideas ... I wanted to pursue ‘foot’ as a theme with some meaning shall we say, because a). there are a plethora of usages / references to be found all over language - in its meaning such things as source, beginning, root... and: b). The implications are often spiritual and thus the word can engender a lot of force, shall we say, i.e., its implications are often significant - the possible pregnancies/potencies of meaning.
To find examples of the word “foot” or its action (walking/traveling) I had to search literature itself, rather to my chagrin as this search had demonstrated the rather limited workings of searching the web without the individual’s rather pointed effort in their particular direction of choice, i.e., engines do not guide you, conversely rather: they often distract you from your point. Ah: but isn’t this exactly why the web is such a unique medium abounding with wonder: because it does not, even for its scientific base, work logically/linearly? Recently I heard someone speak of the experience of surfing as akin to “automatic writing” (as the Surrealists termed it): in this act one begins at a chance/random point and proceeds naturally - following the path where ever it may lead, however tangential that may be, without glossing the resulting journey with a (learned) linear form. (Hypertext is an obvious example).
Actually: although I surmised above that computer scientists must frown at what the web has become they may, in fact, be charmed by the intrigue of the abstraction, the proliferation of the abstractions they’re so inclined to. It’s a vital playground indeed! Web-work a constantly evolving experiment, learning experience and play...