Jim Andrews’ “Seattle Drift” is a play on motion and stasis, surface and depth. Its initially simple presentation consists of a self-described “bad text,” a subversive poem that moves and stutters around the screen when given the instruction to do so. A series of simple controls written in Dynamic HTML allows a user to guide its movement: one is given the option to “do” the text (which makes it drift around the screen), “stop” it (which freezes the letters mid-drift), or “discipline” it (which returns the letters to their original position).
Stopping and starting the text allows the user to create new linguistic and visual configurations for the poem, and this flexibility is the cause of the text’s status as “bad”—it “used to be a poem, but drifted from the scene.” The poem dares its user with a come-on—“I just want you to do me”—that complicates the supposed transparency and stasis of the traditional written word, and makes the user an accomplice in this transformation.
The poem itself has the experimental, minimalist quality that characterizes much of mid-90s net art, exploring the role of particular code functions in the construction of Web aesthetics while also playing with the code’s distance from (and closeness to) the surface of the Web browser. An Easter egg awaits those curious enough to explore the source code.