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But more seriously, moving with the flow also suggests a movement within a medium, an exploration of something not completely known. This may not entail simply giving up resistance, but using resistance as a rudder to navigate within and in between the digital streams. I will return later to the importance of metaphors of movement and fluidity for understanding our relationship to technology.

Artists have been working along these lines for decades. In the seventies cybernetic art began to be made, mostly in Europe and in the United States. Shortly before that, video became an important site for artistic experimentation. Four years ago when I was first introduced to the World-Wide-Web, it was an artist friend who encouraged me to explore it. Before I had made my first attempts at writing with HTML, the skeletal script of the web, I found some early attempts at distributing visual and poetic material through the limited but suggestive medium of the web. Video, robotics, CD-ROM's, the Internet, these technologies -- which we sense have restructured our experience of the everyday, and continue to do so, account for why it is difficult to say exactly how these technologies are changing us -- comprise a set of media within which artists are still working.

My own interests in relation to these issues circulate around questions about how the specificity of the digital medium structures what we mean to say with it. This question for me is preceded by one concerning what the specificity of the digital medium might be. Is there anything specific about this medium? The question has been asked by others: whether the digital realm is a medium or a tool? And indeed, what difference would this difference make?

In inquiring about the specificity of the medium, I am not in search of an essence. The question of specificity in the critical tradition has often led toward establishing such ends. Thus at one time we might have argued here over the characteristics specific to painting versus those belonging to literary objects. Cultural and mental hierarchies were constructed upon the universally valid essence believed to exist at the heart of each cultural form of representation. Rather, what I am interested in is inquiring into the forms of understanding which allow us to accept digital representation as different from other modes of representation. I tend to use "digital representation" and "new media" synonymously. At times, I "collapse" together various digital practices as programming, digital image editing, and web surfing. I do this in order to emphasize the similarity and identity of the tools common to much of human-computer interaction today.

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