Communication has come a long way in a very short period
of time. In the last fifty years the advent of the computer,
the cellular phone, the internet, email, and the fax
machine, to name a few, have come to the foreground.
In a day and age where everything is going faster, where
technology is taking over, and where the world is getting
smaller, worldwide communication is blowing up, one
needs to consider how the advent of web based information
gathering, emailing, online chatting, online gaming,
long distance telephoning, and text messaging has made
worldwide communication very simple.
Kevin Hamilton is interested in exploring this phenomenon.
He is interested in the idea of experiences mediated
social interaction. "The Other End," his web
net art available at www.theotherend.net, seeks to make
light of this phenomenon.
"The Other End" utilizes a simple concept
strategy. Almost a like game, the goal is to see if
anyone is "out there." Users who visit the
page at the same time can send live signals to each
other using their computer spacebar to light up the
page's two indicator lights - one labeled "you,"
the other labeled "someone else." It is an
art project rooted in communication. It attempts, in
the artist's words, "to produce a maximum of presence
with a minimum of data. It is an experiment in using
high-bandwidth means for low-bandwidth ends."*
It is meant to break down the idea of communication
and represent it by its bare minimum sign-a dot on and
When contemplating this project one considers the frustration
and impersonality of online exchange. Imagination, belief,
and humility followed by the continuing blinking light
on and off help represent the artist's issue in regarding
communication at its most reduced level.
"The Other End" is about imagination. The
user is left with a blinking red light, one red light
and another light labeled, "someone else out there."
KH: "Imagination is a big part of
it; I might rather talk about it as 'belief.' I'm interested
in this project (and my other current projects) in how
much of our use of tele-communicative technologies rely
on belief, or the faith in the connection. We have to
imagine the space on the other end of our connection,
often with a minimal amount of empirical data. On the
phone or CB radio, a small audible click can signify
a presence. On a chat room, the progression of new lines
of text down the screen creates a moving index of life,
of activity. We construct in these instances an incredible
amount of knowledge based on a small amount of information."*
He was "interested in setting up a high-tech situation
that facilitates a lot of data, and then using it in
a dumb, low tech way in which little information is
* Quotes taken from
the interview with Kevin Hamilton