Jim Andrews

Jim Andrews
How long have you been working in this area?

I've been doing interactive audio for a year now. But I've had vispo.com up since 95 and, before that, I produced and hosted a literary radio program called Fine Lines and, later, ?Frame? for six years in which I concentrated on audio writing.

Were you an artist/ musician first who got into using computers/the net or did you respond to the net in an artistic way?

Both. I was a writer and sound/radio producer and sound poet/performer for ten years before I touched a computer. I got a computer around 1989 or so. Then I produced a literary magazine with PageMaker and started doing visual poetry for print using CorelDraw. Then I started a live poetry venue in Victoria BC Canada in 95, got on the net, and my first project was to make a schedule of the events of the poetry reading series. I generally need a concrete project to get started in things. Then from there my involvement in the net grew and vispo.com became my center of publication and so forth. As in radio, the more work I did in the medium, the more the work came to inhabit the medium. Prior to my involvement in the net in 95, I was very sound oriented. But then for ten years I concentrated on the written word, the screen, graphics, coding, and so forth. It's a great pleasure to now combine all that with sound. It's a kind of return for me. I consider myself a web.artist now.

What/who has influenced you in your work? (themes, other artists etc)

I took a degree in literature years ago, so there's a whole range of influences that way through world literature past and present. In my audio work, Gregory Whitehead influenced me; his audio writing is superb; I link to his work in one of the essays at the Nio project. Also, the poly-artistic approach of Seattle's Joseph Keppler influenced me quite a bit; he's a poet and sound poet, photographer, sculptor and master of several other arts and brings a writerly approach to them all. We're good friends and saw each other frequently when I lived in Seattle for four years recently. And knew each other way before that. Musically, I'm influenced by strong melody and vocals and rhythm. Rock and roll and Motown, for instance. In my visual work, the lettrist approach has not so much influenced me as is compatible or parallel with my own approach to visual poetry. I also surf a lot and try to keep up on what other artists are doing on the net, so contemporary web art influences me also. In particular, the work and thoughts of the people on the webartery mail list influences me in some ways (I started that list and co-moderate it with Mez).

Are there any other artists covering the same field as you?

The Squid Soup group did a piece that is lettristic in interactive audio that I like, though it isn't really musical. You and I share an interest in the interactive combination of audio and visuals, as do many of the artists at soundtoys.net.

With regard to 'soundtoys' especially, why do you think the audio visual metaphor is so key to the net?

We ourselves communicate in multi media; we are multi-media creatures. Sound adds the richness of music, voice, and the world to our art. But the net is also highly visual. So to combine sound and the visual is important, launches artistic and emotional possibilities that do not exist in the solely visual.

Could you come up with a definition of "soundtoys"

It's a term that I like in some ways and dislike in others. What I like is the implication of playing with things/sounds sounds as toys in themselves, as things. And I also like the childlike implications of the word. But of course there's a negative side too: it's 'just a toy' whereas it's clear that interactive audio/visual works can be very sophisticated works of art and also can be applications capable of many studio-ware operations, very compositional etc., for instance.

Does the net promotes visual awareness that is unique to it?

Yes. In several areas. The text is electric (like the electric guitar is electric versus the acoustic guitar). It is languimagical in its luminous appearance, motion, and disappearance on the screen. Text takes on a certain graphical/colored/shaped and moving life on the net. It becomes closer to the breath in that sense, to the oral. Graphically, the net is a fantastical world apart from the world. It's a liquid stream of color and intelligent intensity, morphing, and transformation. And now of sound too.

How novel do you feel generative music is?

I don't know too much about generative music in the sense that term is usually used. My work is generative in the sense that the player composes with musical phrases, but it isn't generative in the sense that the computer is doing part of the composition.

Would you describe yourself as a multimedia artist, a net.artist, programmer, or none of the above?

A Web.artist, mostly, though also a multimedia artist and a programmer. Net.art, to me, refers to a movement of which I am very aware but it was never really my bag, though I admire some of the work done in it.

What software do you use most?

Director Shockwave Studio, Flash, Dreamweaver, Outlook, Photoshop, CorelDraw, CorelPaint, Internet Explorer, CakeWalk, Sound Forge, Napster, Word, Acid, Adobe Acrobat, Netscape, Opera, Real Player and Real Producer, Vuepro32, Iomega tools, and Outlook Newsgroup viewer.

Jim Andrews


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