How do composers use the Web as a creative medium for music? Eve Beglarian



photo by Robin Holland

I’ve been thinking a lot about how time works on the Web, and I believe it’s actually sort of problematical for those of us who are involved in time-based art. I notice that when I’m on the Web, I’m generally not in the mood to give myself over to someone else’s idea of how to structure time. I expect to be clicking and searching and traveling around. Investigating. Maybe it’s even left over from the early days when one had to pay per-minute usage fees: my urge is to grab what I need and move on.

The composer sites I enjoy tend to expect and reward this speed-driven and control-freakish visitor. Ryan Francesconi’s site is a good example. Jamie Croft’s site works in this direction as well.

Even Cathedral, Bill Duckworth’s major site, is, for all its ambition, very generous about not stealing control from the user. Music is delivered in short chunks, with no particular demands made about how you navigate the larger structure.

It seems to me to be a pressing question to figure out how to give the user/listener/visitor control over time, without losing creative control over the central element that makes our art meaningful. I know I have not yet solved this question for myself, which is why my work on the Web has only just begun.

And of course, once TV merges with the Internet, the problem may simply disappear!