This “feature-length” net.art work could be best described as an interactive documentary film centered on Ludwig Wittgenstein (his life and philosophy), but connecting a diverse set of topics, such as film (Psycho, Jean Luc Godard, 2001: A Space Odyssey), historical events (World War I & II, the World Trade Center, the 911 attacks), historical figures (Hitler, Alan Turing, Carmen Miranda, Sigmund Freud), themes (silence, Miranda rights, homosexuality), arts, artists, scientists, culture, politics, law, and so much more. This intricate collection of short films are held together by the Wittgensteinian notion of family resemblance, and organized using an interface informed by the idea of a constellation (see below).
Just as the pictorial and metaphorical connections one can find to cluster stars to are completely subjective, but make powerful cultural patterns that are difficult to ignore when known, David Clark creates compelling streams of thought by pointing out resemblances between the topics of each short web.art video.
Though the work isn’t a poem per se, it contains poetry in many forms: spoken, visual, kinetic, scheduled. See the screen captures below for a few examples.
The example above uses language as a pictorial element in a multi-layered presentation over time, providing multi-layered images of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, and some of the manuscripts as the narrator discusses it. A different pictorial use of language can be seen in the node titled “Silence” (see below).
Here the image is mapped onto a silent character’s face. Is this Wittgenstein, whose silence on certain subjects found expression in his encrypted private journals?
Perhaps the most prevalent use of kinetic language can be exemplified by the still image above. Here language swoops in, spins, and is presented over time to add to, emphasize, exemplify, or provide a counterpoint to the Clark’s narrative and sometimes poetic voice in the work, among other uses.
This work made the 2011 New Media Writing Prize Shortlist and with good reason: it integrates genres, media, and modalities to maximize its expressive potential. I suggest spending some time exploring this truly fascinating work.