fusionanomaly

NooPed, the man from the cyberfield, just unwillingly re-hinted me via e-mail—we’re discussing yet another model of cyberspace ;-)— at fusionanomaly by Atomjack. I’ve been there before several times, but through time it somehow got lost in my mind’s mælstrom. The website is one of the rare manifestations of the original hypertext-idea [see also ↵hypermedia ethnography]. A structured accumulation of thoughts, snippets, ideas, citations, and downloadable files of diverse formats and sizes bound together by countless criss-crossing hyperlinks. The problem of course is, that for the reader the structure quickly gets out of sight. Nevertheless it’s worthwhile to get lost inside fusionanomaly.

Another point of critique may be the site’s design. The choice of colours and background is surely not to everybody’s taste. But in the end the site is kept simple and straightforward. There is hardly anything pretentious, neither in usability nor in the html-sourcecode—granted, the plethora of animated .gifs is an exception.

Just in April this year some protagonists of this part of the anthropological blogosphere made tongue-in-cheek critical remarks on the design of Noah Porter’s website computer-mediated anthropology. My humble self couldn’t resist the temptation, too. Noah wrote a lengthy and quite scholarly response on the ‘criticism’—unfortunately I can’t find it anymore, neither on the net nor on my HDD. Which is a pity, as I remember that it was quite substantial and carried some points I’d really like to discuss now.

Anyway, what i want to say is, that in the creation of websites the visible [design] and the less visible [html-sourcecode] parts of course are culturally shaped. Even ‘cyberculturally’ shaped. Noah Porter and me, we are socialized into different provinces of cyberculture. I go for clean, organised, and W3C-conform html, non-annoying, usable websites without fancy stuff or Java-script. [you judge if I am successful] Thanks for Kerim’s recent note to developers: “Unfortunately, their web designer insists on using awful javascript pop-ups on nearly every link in the site. […] Leave it up to the user whether or not to open a link in a new window!”

Biella once courteously wrote about my website: […] content and aesthetics [are] in a complementary relationship.” When i started to design the website I wanted that readers and myself do not get lost in its content, and I wanted to emulate the look’n’feel of my modding-community’s tools. Hence the topic-trees in the sidebars of site and blog, emulating the child-parent-up-to-worldspace hierarchy of MaxEd. When I found nullpointer—home of the amazing webtracer—I felt myself assured with the design.

Now to something entirely different [The truth is that I just entirely lost my trail of thought—but what I noted below still somehow matches the header ‘fusionanomaly’]

On fusionanomaly’s start page there is this quote by Werner Heisenberg:
 

It is probably true quite generally that in the history of human thinking the most fruitful developments frequently take place at those points where two different lines of thought meet. These lines may have their roots in quite different parts of human nature, in different times or different cultural environments or different religious traditions: hence if they actually meet, that is, if they are at least so much related to each other that a real interaction can take place, then one may hope that new and interesting developments may follow.

Concerning the novelist’s art & craft, Stephen King is quite of the same opinion.

When once asked in an interview how he developes his pictorial ideas, top-of-the-heap science-fiction illustrator Jim Burns—one of my all-time heroes—basically answered: ‘Knowing where from and how …’ Burns collects all kinds of pictures that strike him. When sifting through glossy magazines while waiting at the dentist’s he now and then rips out a page and pockets it. Maybe an advertisement, a photography, a drawing, whatever. Back at home he files it away in an according cabinet. But way more important: a small scrap of memory is filed away in his mind. There it sits and maybe someday will react or even fuse with another slice of thought.

In the heads of human individuals there is a torrent of consciousness—sometimes becoming a mælstrom. Thoughts, sensations, impressions, and ideas tumbling around, meeting each other, sometimes reacting, fusing, giving birth to something new. When strands of that torrent are shared by a group of individuals we well may call that culture. [?] The anthropologist’s job is to hack into that torrent and create a similar one in his own head. When this project has been succesful? There is a benchmark for anthropological knowledge: Does the ethnographer / participant observator / thick participant succeed in social interaction with his ‘subjects’, or not?

This entry is quite chaotic, I know—it’s a fusionanomaly …

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