The other day, when we were at Artbots, I mentioned to Evan that I was "obsessed with data." This was brought on by the way most "interactive" art pieces function - they transform one kind of data into another: visual to audio, movement to movement, you name it to you name it.
But in another sense, this is an obsession I've always had. The information that's available all around us could tell us MUCH MUCH more than we already know. First of all, there's our own data - our e-mails, documents, etc. Zöe is a program I installed recently which is hard to describe. Its author describes it thus:
"So what is Zoë? Think about it as a sort of librarian, tirelessly, continuously, processing, slicing, indexing, organizing, your messages. The end result is this intertwingled web of information. Messages put in context."
It looks like this:
Zöe only scratches the surface of what can be done with a small portion of our own data - our stored e-mails. We have a tendency to think in terms of limited paradigms: search, search by content, search titles, subjects, etc. We forget that there are patterns we don't see: ways in which we can pieces of data to each other.
WikiWebs are another good example. People often refer to these as webpages which are freely editable by all, but they forget the coolest part - links everywhere that form automatically just by formatting your words in the right way! The data stored in the Wikipedia is not just a set of articles - it's a whole intertwingular interweb! It's what the WWW should really be all about! Not static sites with flashy designs! Content! With lots of relevant links to related content! And lots of exclamation points!