The Interactive Multimedia That Was (Where I’m At, Part 2)


The re-emergence of new media — as an art form and an industry, via whatever name is being floated around at the moment (Transmedia, Creative Coding, so on) seems to be upon us. While I’m increasingly excited about this, I also remember the rather bizarre Silicon-Valley-Meets-Blockbuster-Filmmaking sorts of Big Ideas that were afoot back in the mid-to-late 1990s. I checked out around the time Apple reps started singing the praises of Disney (ironically enough), and shortly thereafter, wound up doing writing and performance art for several years. Prior to that, my scrappy-activist-since-my-preteens self was quite serious about making a go of it, along the lines of Voyager; while the suits and marketing types typically cast blank smiles full of super-white teeth (or just scoffed outright) at the idea of doing socially conscious media, it was a thing. Until the zero-billion-dollar-industry-that-could decided to cash in on the zero part of that formula and die a quick death thereafter, I was determined that it become my thing as well.

Now, though? I’m hopeful, to be honest. Hollywood is widely viewed as the way NOT to go, and overall, there’s a healthier degree of skepticism about the more egregious forms of monopolistic capitalism….sort of. Still, the possibilities surrounding doing cross-discipline work are better now than ever, and the tools continue to get cheaper overall. Further, the media-as-liberation sentiments that drove many of us back in the day are still quite active (obviously), if not expanding on them in ways both significant and unanticipated. Not to mention that the practice of multidisciplinary work is frequently assumed as part of internet-based content creation, at least in part; the idea of naming these sorts of practices beyond “I make things on/for the internet” is somewhat past-rooted in and of itself. So, we’ll see.