The Idea Line
October 29, 2001 2:52 PM   Subscribe

The Idea Line is a Java-based timeline of net artworks, arranged in a fan of luminous threads. Each thread corresponds to a particular kind of artwork or type of technology. Note - requires some patience as it streams in slow even over my company T-1. [via IA/]
posted by willnot (18 comments total)
very cool. another excellent work by Martin Wattenberg.

if you like his stuff, keep an eye on his site and his collaborative site with Marek Walczak.
posted by webchick at 4:04 PM on October 29, 2001

nice, though i imagine the design nazis will shred it to pieces. [ducking for cover...] personallly i like these kinds of dynamic interfaces to relational data. (like plumb design's wordnet thingy from a few year's back.)
posted by badstone at 4:07 PM on October 29, 2001

Very cool, except I couldn't open half of the threads because the "hotspot" areas were so tiny. I kept zipping past the one I wanted to open.
posted by scottandrew at 4:09 PM on October 29, 2001

>Very cool, except I couldn't open half of the threads
>because the "hotspot" areas were so tiny. too. but these are but mere nits. name another person who continually breaks ground in viz work on the Web today.

to hell with the design nazis. :-)
posted by webchick at 4:20 PM on October 29, 2001

to hell with the design nazis. :-)

Heh. It's not the design I have a problem with.

To hell with usability nazis! ;)
posted by scottandrew at 4:27 PM on October 29, 2001

>To hell with usability nazis!


i personally think Martin's work, albeit experimental in many regards, is some of the most usable and intuitive of its kind, to hell with them, too :-))).

(BTW, for those interested, more of Martin's work is at rhizome. Check our alt.interface for "starry night" and "spiral")
posted by webchick at 4:31 PM on October 29, 2001

Most interesting link I've ever seen. Thanks.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:48 PM on October 29, 2001

oops, gotta learn to keep my nazis straight. anyhoo, i started to wonder about whatever happened to the Plumb Design folks and i found their thinkmap page, then on to their projects page. I found this EMP Digital Collection thing. Looks pretty nifty, though a bit mysterious in function...
posted by badstone at 4:49 PM on October 29, 2001

I'm been messing with this for a while now. It looks really awesome but I have absolutely no idea what the links are supposed to be, and what the hoo-ha they have to do with the category titles along the right.
posted by paddy at 5:11 PM on October 29, 2001

Their EMP project is weird: I once attended a 1/2 hour talk by the producer of that project for plumb. Two months later, I happened to be in Seattle and visited the EMP and I still couldn't figure out the UI (the thinkmap part was clear enough, but the actions initiated by clicking on thinkmap hotspots were confusing as hell).

Re The Idea Line: not that it bugs me or anything, but how could the 5k not make the minimalism category> (Or web4096 for that matter.)
posted by sylloge at 5:14 PM on October 29, 2001

yeah, they have a long way to go, data collection-wise, before they become remotely comprehensive. nice prototype interface though.
posted by badstone at 5:29 PM on October 29, 2001

i don't think "Idea Line" was designed to be a comprehensive database of net art projects from the get-go. it relies on input from most everything on the Web. bearing that in mind, isn't it "net art" in and of itself?

if your work isn't represented, here are the instructions on how to add it.
posted by webchick at 5:55 PM on October 29, 2001

Back when I was in IT and all ROI-driven and proactive and shit like that, my team and I used the Plumb thinkmap (and champagne yum yum) to help us brainstorm names for our wee groupware thingo.

The marketing nazis eventually shot all our suggestions down.

To hell with them marketing nazis. :-)

('Groupware Thingo' was not the eventual name we chose, by the way.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:45 AM on October 30, 2001

That link is the coolest thing I've seen since my sister got eaten by the hogs, BTW.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:42 AM on October 30, 2001

It is nice. It's obvious to me they were shooting for an analog feel similar to interactive physical art but it's not 'there' yet. Good step forward, though.
posted by mmarcos at 5:54 AM on October 30, 2001

i don't think "Idea Line" was designed to be a comprehensive database of net art projects from the get-go. it relies on input from most everything on the Web

the bottom-up approach is good in a lot of situations, but its not as though this data isn't available. As long as they've gone this far, they should take the last step and plug into a real database. it would elevate their work to where it ought to be - a useful tool, and not just another five minute roadside attraction amongst a gajillion other eye candy web sites out there. the web is flooded with lots of data that don't get used, and lots of viz tools that don't use real data. sure, grass roots approaches make all the participants feel good, but there are much more effective ways to invest this effort. likewise, tools like this can make all that data out there that much more useful.
posted by badstone at 11:26 AM on October 30, 2001

yeah...all for the love of data, badstone!

i can't wait until technology matures to the point that interfaces like this are more prevalent. however, this particular project was an online exhibit for an art museum, so we should appreciate it in that context and for what it contributes to explorations in state-of-the-art visualization techniques.

(and given the fact that the person who created Idea Line has built useful tools in the past, i think we can forgive him the occasional artistic indulgence ;-)
posted by webchick at 2:28 PM on October 30, 2001

(speaking of artistic indulgences...i must mention that it is difficult to keep a straight face during this serious design discussion given the "Older" thread listed at the bottom of this page :-)))
posted by webchick at 2:33 PM on October 30, 2001

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