a r c h i v e



Tableau was a project curated by Linda Marie Walker and Jyanni Steffensen in 1997. [see 'about Tableau']. It was the first 'project' for eWRe. We were all new to this stuff - the internet - though not to digital mediums. The brief was to make an online work that referred to Adelaide as site, as place.

My project for Tableau turned out not to be Tableauat all. I was perturbed by the space, an entirely different set of limits seemed to apply here, though I couldn't yet get past the frustration of not knowing what to ask. If Tableau as 'project' demands outcome, proof or evidence, my contribution was a failure. The bits I had placed here then were just that - bits, experiments. My contribution is a desire to learn what made this tick, this design for a web screen, how the writing of html- javascript - moving gifs, appeared on the screen, the haptic (at best) effects this appearance could have on the viewer. I'm curious now about interface architecture - wanting to resist intensely the "My Computer" and "Home Page" mind set - the sort of comfort and fear that induces. And these metaphors don't work for me. This is not a resistance in the name of some techno utopia, it is a political act. The most widely used software uses architectural structures designed to pave a smooth hand-held path of least resistance, it is built on the assumption that computer technology is beyond the scope of the everyday user - that somehow technology per se is an entirely new force in contemporary society. The results can be seen all over the web, a 'sameness' that does not invite accidental routes and discoveries.

I am writing this in a text editor. No bold underline or font changes here unless I make a tag for bold say, and then close it, its so easy really - so simply and utterly logical. But I can't see that bold as i write it, and, unless You choose 'View Source' you can't see the tags that are here and make it happen. This doesn't effect what I'm writing here in a literal way, it is an abstraction, a code by which I can now, through familiarity and repetition, construct the image of the page by this collection of letters and tags (called commands in 'real' programming languages (?- if HTML is not a programming language then how come I now understand the principles of commanding the machine to write/make something, to arrange pixels in a certain way, to read a gathering of bytes in a directory on the machine in relation to any number of other gatherings at other locations on this machine or other machines also in infinite number, at least in possibilty) but just tags here, tagged, tag-a-long, a language of simple instructions, read within the brackets and this meaning, this outcome, is assigned to this collection of things etc.) the bold only happens in my head at the moment I write, the visual reminder isn't there 'til I flip to Preview mode in the browser screen. I enjoy this gap - this jump. From this text to the viewer interface. It is a conversation of sorts, a tit-for-tat : this-for-that, and in the way of conversations produces offshoots schisms silences and (un)happy accidents, (Freudian slips).

Tables tableaus, I've come to love tables, grids really, as the simplest device for making the most complex designs, with the fewest commands. I've been doing repetition for a while now, Tableau sowed the seed really, the desire to go-in- further, to worry the notion of electronic writing, to assemble some of the disassembled, dislocated, ex-communicated and still-communicating writing and pictures I'd been making. It didn't have to have a theme or an ending or a description, as soon as I wanted to make a bracket (a link elsewhere) I'd just make way. My project for Tableau is still happening, becoming. The project is to learn which questions to ask. After Tableau I began to edit and design the ensemble site; designing projects that would attract others who had a lot of questions, ideas, speculations. This for me is Tableau.

Teri Hoskin 2000

* here was originally published at alt-x publishing network with works by other Australian writers working accross genres and disciplines. Still wrestling with the limitations of html, rather than working with them, I produced this work as a series of gifs to retain control over font and placement. This version should download a little faster than the original.