Published in Paradise Drive, catalogue of artist Yi Zhou, 2003, Paris.
What does it mean to walk around a beach?
Can we say that it's a natural experience, or a virtual experience? Is it very different from navigating a website? Are the people we meet real or are they avatars? Is the sound of the waves just a streamed MP3?
And when the beach is really perfect, why do we say "its like a movie"?
The movies are not really moving. More and more cinema is becoming coded, we see films that are supposed to be entertaining, but in fact they are just simulation of entertainment. We understand that we should be scared when the music turns Wagner, even though we know its going to be ok in the end. In fact we watch movies just to see how well they follow these predefined paths, and maybe they will even surprise us. Of course the surprise, the twist in the scenario is to be expected as well. But if entertainment is always pre-coded, then we not only enjoy the simulation a movie offers us, but we enjoy the simulation of the code that is used to make the movie.
Websites are exactly like movies. We enjoy the navigation as much as the content, and sometimes the navigation is all the content there is. These websites are different from a homepage, there is no other purpose for it being there, apart from being there. It is not used to advertise another place or product, but it is the product itself, it is the code, and it is the entertainment.
Its even better when there is no entertainment, no navigation, and no content, Its there for no reason, it does not have a purpose, it is just part of a larger map, a piece of the new world. It is just a place we pass by, like a beach and sometimes we meet strange fish, look at the waves, and spend time thinking about nothing.