Introduction

Could an artist, using the computer as vehicle of research, define an art practice where the subject of that practice was an examination of particular aspects of meaning as explored within mutable time-based electronic environments? As computer-based systems and technological sensory extensions change our relation to both nature and language, we need to create mechanisms that function at the highest possible level of human/machine interaction in order to reflect upon this complex plethora of emerging relations. Given the limitations of language to penetrate the complexity of lived experience, we need to move toward the invention of more sophisticated systems of communication that will allow us to both share and create new reflective experiences. A rich variety and complexity of experience requires equally complex transformative technological systems to examine and explore that experience. In the light of this comment, could one seek to engender new forms of poetic expression to reflect upon the nature and construction of meaning? Might a new field of poetics actually be articulated in the light of such an endeavor? What historical approaches might be drawn upon to inform and define the aesthetics and relevant processes associated with this emergent field?

It is now often the case, in terms of computer-based media utilising language, image, and sound relations, that an entire environment of media relations must be examined before a meaning or meanings can be gleaned. It is often the simultaneous inter-signification of various media-elements of language, image and sound, functioning as a unified time-based field, that one "reads." When I employ the term "reading" in this paper it must be seen in terms of environmental intersignification as produced through the intermingling of differing forms of languages; image, sound and text. This is especially true in terms of installation -based artworks, and in particular virtual worlds, where a combined set of media-elements are brought together in the service of creative expression. How can we begin to accurately reflect upon such complex environments? Should one develop a method of examination of meaning to be explored in terms of environmental relations that arise as a result of interaction with differing media-elements? In particular, should we begin to examine computer-based environmental meaning? This will be the focus of this paper; the exploration of meaning/becoming in computer-based environments. I define meaning/becoming as meaning experienced in a changing environment over time. I use the term meaning/becoming in that I seek to examine environments that are characterized by un-fixity.
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