wovenweb:  www-scf.usc.edu/~gmaestas/
wovenweb is an exercise in narrative construction drawing attention to the web as a chaotic environment in which users create individual meaning from otherwise unrelated material. Rosalind Krauss’ essay Narrative Time details the superficiality of what people understand as causal relationships. It draws attention to the fact that narratives compulsively constructed by humans are fabrications of cognitively linked clusters of images and sensations. It is for this reason that textiles have so often been used historically as mediums for narrative construction, both literally in cases like quilting, and metaphorically in myths of the Grecian tapestry of human destiny. These ideas are echoed in wovenweb in that the meaning or narrative conjured by the images is the user’s to divine. In this way, the web is a digital reiteration of physical space – the original medium for human narrative construction.

As an iteration of Narrative Time, wovenweb takes two forms: words and thier abstractions (and conversely, the word as an abstraction of image). The site index reflects this in its two passageways. Through a series of gifs chronicling the image construction of wovenweb, a user will find the image version. These search results were downloaded as presented online and arranged sequentially, left to right. As to maintain the horizontal orientation without altering the original image sizes, each image has been cut so that it leaves no empty space between it and its neighboring images. Once every image was fitted to its environment, the larger image was cut along the strips created in the process. These strips give theses images a woven effect as presented online. Together with the aesthetic reference, the engagement of the user also evokes the act of weaving in their attempts to reconstruct severed threads of images.

Woven into the gifs, only shown in its entirety when the gif will allow, the title of the site unites the images. Through the word title, a user can uncover the verbal and conceptual meaning for the piece. Each image is a search engine result representation of one word in a 132-word passage of the essay. As to avoid any loss creative potential by highlighting the particular passage, I present the whole essay in redundant abundance (though I included it in the code to further the relation between image and meaning).

Despite the Western-biased reading orientation of its construction and inspiration, the woven images obliterate any obvious linear relationship, making the piece equally enigmatic in any direction. A viewer may happen upon different images in different orders after different durations. Images that may appear immediately and obviously to one user may never appear to another. It is also likely, given the massiveness of the digital tapestry, that an image could come into focus off screen, never seen in its full realization. In the rare event that two users come upon the same images in the same sequence, it is unlikely that these viewers will come to the same conclusion about the meaning of the images and the order in which they discovered them.