Editorial/#/Flee Immediately!/ironically/into the vast open black box.
All codes seem to begin with a defining element, whether it be use simple;, doctype html, or #!/usr/bin/perl. Each element sets up the structure of the code.
But what’s inside the structure, as long as it follows the order - the rules that define it, can be changed and adapted: creativity within limits.This editorial will be no different. It’s the defining element of the structure of the journal. But at the same time it is different. It’s a call to finally see in between, to form, re-form and see the details. To not let the structure close in, but to open up: to flee immediately is to ironically explore remaining.
It all started as a gap, a gap that Flee Immediately! does not flee but takes as its guide. In the world of looking for jobs and explaining what you do, sometimes you just don’t fit the code, the check box, or the other way around. No I do not design websites and create phone applications. There is more to it than that. Flee Immediately! is a forum for ‘the more to it’. It attempts to develop within this gap, speaking against, using, critiquing, endlessly re-imagining, the coded perceptions of ‘interactive media’, the ‘media art world’, and ’...‘, while creating its own new code. It is a black box that opens up, exposing the links and wires of other black boxes, and then creating within its own structure, its own limits. It is about a relationship between theory and practice that allows for experimentation, dwelling in between, connecting and succeeding, connecting and failing, error and process: defamiliarization. It is for going beyond models and into creation, processes and ideas. It bridges many gaps, but it always explores media, technology and their surrounding ideas within a critical framework, connecting ideas, thoughts and inspirations from a vast range of medias, mediums, genres and artists/contributors.
Technology is not just a tool. Flee Immediately! is not just a closed structure, a closed box. And it is left up to you to fold and re-fold, open and close, connect and disconnect, imagine and yet face reality, inspire and yet critique…
And this is my own fleeing, one of many meetings upon the fold.
It begins with Permutations by Nick Blythe, the black box itself. Through attempting to find a new way of working and with inspiration from Sol Lewitt’s Incomplete Open Cubes, Nick has opened the cube, a closed structure, to new possibilities. The black box opened up, the algorithm qua experiment.
And the algorithm meets the structures of Stephen Fortune’s database. Can We Data Mine Belief? Perhaps, or perhaps not. But what we can do is delve into two differing knowledge systems, databases and divination. Taking Tasseomancy as our guide, we enter the spiritual world, or the magical world, of prediction. Technology and spiritualism are not strangers; the telegram was sent as if by magic. And Stephen’s work brings their past history to the present in a new way, the historical contexts and roots of technology explored once again. Can we Data Mine Belief? Perhaps, but before we answer, we must flee immediately from the strict forms of the database and into the uncertain world of prediction. And vice versa. It’s a project that is ongoing from the past to the present, it begs its own question, and its left up to you to predict the future.
The future is always becoming, just as are the secrets Miriam Wistreich points to in her narrative essay Alexandra’s Baby. Gaps bridged all in one: code inflicting a social/cultural model of being, feminist practices, the neonatal clinic and secrets. And Miriam’s use of narrative structure and examples mixed with her own research allow her to flee into new relationships between theory and practice. Her secret is in the dwelling in between and defamiliarizing. She has not experienced birth but she has experimented within its context. Code meets theory meets creativity meets narrative: an exploration (essay) is born.
Into the unknown, writing based on experience and narrative - not finite points, models and maps: it is here where the folded pieces of Miriam’s text meet KIOSK Collective’s submission. Of my father, a maritime technocrat / Lamenting the ship, a three-part text on trauma, beautifully explores the re-occurring theme of the sea and mapping in KIOSK’S work. It is the points off the map, the words that cannot be said, that relate to the impossible-to-be-put-into-words trauma. Inspiration in letters, Mapping of the ship’s lament / Clear as Mud, or ironically not: a response is mapped and placed alongside the text. This coded form is based on a project, Clear as Mud, that explores digital versus analogue interpretations of weather by boatmen in Southend-on-Sea. Changes in live digital weather data randomly trigger videos of the boatmen’s analogue discussions, playing between the notions of the predictability and the unpredictability of weather. It is between these two forms, between these related themes, between the lines of code, between the lines of text, between the map itself and the text itself – in between - that we find the trauma. It is the data left behind that creates shallows, and it is the points left unmapped that speak depths into the limited, shallow waters. It is into these depths that we wish to flee, and KISOK’s submission deftly guides the way.
And in depth, is where Megha Ralapati also takes us in her discussion of Hawala money networks. Megha’s work takes a case and examines it not just by its structure, but its inside as well. She bridges gaps and times, taking Hawala for it’s actual lived reality. And it’s this type of methodology that inspires the critical viewpoint that allows for a new world of media, technology and art to emerge. And it is left here in the fold. A case in point of the getting in between, of diving into a topic, of working through a reality to imagine and build. It is up to you to find your own inspiration, ideas, and projects in Megha’s study.
And so Flee Immediately! into the vast open black box. From birth to boxes and from tasseomancy to trauma, the media and technologies - the projects, writings, and works that make up the black box - are there to be explored, pondered and reworked. The possibilities are endless, but the limits are still there.
Some but not all is revealed: