The term that really drives me up the wall, though, is web page. Page connotes something stable, unchanging, and definite. A book page exists. A book page is. A web page, on the other hand, is a vastly more complicated structure. It is a set of instructions blasted from a server farm across the globe through fiber-optic cables, then interpreted by a computer’s hypertext transfer protocol browser and displayed by a light-emitting-diode screen. All this, by the way, is happening in real time—reconstituted at each millisecond through a unique and contingent tangle of systems—and is supported by the constant churn of the power grid, itself (incredibly) still commonly powered by burning coal. So instead of web page, I’d prefer the term web performance, which would remind us that this information is both immediate and ephemeral. In a sense, it is thousands of coal-powered virtual Rube Goldberg machines—lined up from end to end—that power our Facebook Paper apps on our iPhones.
A website is never ready. It is subject to constant change, it is a resonant body of the technical status quo and a living projection of the authors. Endless scrolling, depending on the individual daily form.
Unlike other areas of visual culture where manifestation of form is sought and visual decisions are clear, there is only temporary authorship online – until the next update.
The desire for obvious decisions meets systemic factors and comes back as an unmanageable potpourri of possibilities. Analogous to the physical model of the double pendulum, the development of a website is a chaotic process – a steady balancing of seemingly unlimited possibilities.