Individual Work

With FILMTEXT 2.0 (2001-2002), Mark Amerika presents a remix of philosophical inquiry on time and being, data perception and manipulation, networking culture, and writing, the final complement of his trilogy (GRAMMATRON, 1997 and PHON:E:ME, 1999). As a tourist in a visually changing landscape, the reader explores an interface that simulates a game-like environment. The user's task is to trigger cones of light that shimmer on the screen. Once activated, narrative paths unfold through animated texts, spoken-words, or videos. A central narrative construction in this work is the creation of a "Digital Thoughtographer" (DT), Amerika's personified concept character. The DT is a lens that looks like an image-capture device through which the viewer can access coded text fragments that appear as programmed scripts, images, and flickering video excerpts. Amerika uses the DT as an instrument that takes the perspective of an omniscent narrator who communicates defragmented statements to the reader/viewer: "There is only perception: the experience of seeing what is there in front of our eyes and capturing that thereness in the experiential act of perception." Mark Amerika's composition of texts is built on Raymond Federman's concepts of surfiction, critifiction, and playgiarism. The texts are digital remixes of theoretical views once expressed and assigned to known philosophers which the DT transmits without referencing sources directly. For example, the following statement resembles Barthes' questions about authorship: "Who are the ghosts in the literary machine?" Elsewhere he evokes Baudrillard, observing, "Not only can there be no original, the simulacrum has now lost its punch too," and "Aura is interface," "There is only perception." In the work at hand, the reader/viewer's perception blurs with facts and fiction in which Amerika's poetics of hacktivism and remixology are set into scene.

Mark Amerika's trilogy ends with the continuation of what he envisioned with GRAMMATRON in 1997: "To approach the computer-mediated network environment of the World Wide Web as an experimental writing zone, one where the evolving language of new media would reflect the convergence of image-writing, sound-writing, language writing, and code writing as complementary processes . . ." (181, META/DATA). Subtitled "MetaTourism: Interior Landscapes, Digital Thoughtography," FILMTEXT 2.0 is a collaborative achievement of many artists and comes along with an ambient background soundtrack. Excerpts from the "Digital Thoughtographer" are available on the author's website at