Virginia Commonwealth University
The investigation of time and space within the Internet is at the core of Peter Baldes online work. By using the scripting capacity and loading times of browsers to create unique experiences for each viewer, Baldes’s work creates strategies for expression and regeneration that are contingent upon the time and space apparatus of the Internet. In this talk Peter discusses his work from the earliest works in 1996 to the present.
Now you are going to see an expression of chaotic space which is my computer.
My work tries to express the fact that time and space are connected, are intertwined. I don’t feel that I need to prove that in any way, but it has just been fascinating to me to show that to people in different ways. I am going to show you a lot of my Internet work and a few video pieces. I haven’t been to LA since I was 15, I don’t really know the city at all, but I have played the video game “San Andreas Grand Theft Auto”, and when I got off the plane, I went to get a cup of coffee and we were driving up the street and I knew where I was.
I knew where there was going to be a V in the road, and to the left there was going to be this white house where we were supposed to steal a motor cycle and there was a staircase that I was to drive down with. These are some of the screens from Flicker of the virtual on the left and real on the right, and they are quite amazing – things are rendered in so much detail.
My first piece I ever made on the Web was in 1996 and there was a post-script that picked images randomly and just put them in a web page and I would just sit there and reload this thing and watch it, hoping for something, I guess like a horoscope. I wanted this perfect image to appear which never did. But this active reloading became very important to me to create a unique experience. At the time the Web was just starting to blow up there were browser wars with Netscape and Internet Explorer and things did not look right in different browsers and e-commerce needed the browsers to be consistent so they could start making money from us. So this collage generator was trying to subvert that and make unique things happen for every person that came. With the number of images and slots, there are millions and millions of possible collages. There is a reload button that I just pressed over and over hoping for a perfect thing.
Another thing that started to happen was that I would put Web statistics back and watch my Website. Then, I would began reloading them and see what had changed, what happened overnight, what happened five minutes ago, hoping that maybe some Web site would put me on and I would get thousands and thousands of people to come.
I wanted to see how many things they saw, what they were looking for, where they came from, what time they came, how they saw things on different browsers.
The piece reloads over and over again and every time it reloads on its own, it counts up the number on all of these counters. They are all stolen and they are all still on people’s websites. When the website owners check their statistics they have gotten some hits and are popular because my thing is going and visiting them!
This is another Web piece and this is about waiting for things on the Web. Most of these icons are not used anymore.
Time is passing and you are sitting there hoping this will change. This is a video piece I made during graduate school trying to express that connection between time and space. It is a very short piece. I had cameras sticking out of my car windows a lot. I wanted to actually connect it, you can see in the shadow line the little bit of time that had passed between the two tapes. In this piece, there are three QuickTime videos, they are the same video but saved as three different files. The Website calls them, the first one loads first, the second one loads second, so this delay is sort of caused by the system by the fact that they have to travel over the Internet, they have to be rendered by the computer. So that becomes interesting: different computers, different browsers, different systems would render things differently. This is proof of concept of this time I call hypertemporality time on the Web where things aren’t instant sort of like we want to be, they have to come to you they have to go across this network and go through all these nodes and tubes.
This is a project I have been working on that I stopped this summer but I have worked on this for quite a long time. These are called “Hypertemporality Animations” and what they are is a single image I cut into hundreds or sometimes just twenty or thirty pieces which load across the Internet. This one was sliced in two different ways. The browser is having a hard time rendering it. The time that it took for it to get to the computer and for the computer to render it is expressed in this sort of glitch that is happening and I am going to click through a few of these. Actually there is a brand new version of Safari which is really, really slow due to the animations, so I am going to switch to another browser so you can see the difference. This is from the Firefox browser.
This piece is comprised of scanned books and you can see them loading sequentially. I don’t have control here. Once the whole thing gets into the computer, you have to wait for it to start to bloop in a consistent speed, and then slowly it will change because there is a little bit of a delay. When we were watching another glitch happen, these lines appear and it will all crunch down and we will get to see that superhero, to read that book. I used found images, I make my own images, I scan things, I made video, sometimes I’m in a funny mood, I sort of spend the same time that I did with the collage generator with these. I will sit here and watch these and reload them myself and hope for some special thing to happen. The one thing that is built into these is that maybe technology will be so advanced and our computers are so fast, and the network that we use to send information over the Internet will be so efficient that these won’t work anymore, there will be no glitch and they will just look like the original form. This investigation of my work is really about the specifics of how time and space manifest on the Internet; how the Internet and its browsers manufacture our experience. And how those experiences are unique for each viewer because of the way the Internet functions.
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