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Artist's Statement (Bowling Alley)

Beth Stryker
In creating the Bowling Alley Web site to interface with the Bowling Alley installation, we invoked the metaphor of the public space to explore issues of authority, authorship, and individual liberties on the WWW. This metaphorical marker was already drawing attention to the scene of future territorial battles. While the rules apparent in the social space of the bowling alley, and the cultural space of the gallery arise from the need of management to regulate such spaces, the cultural-social space of the Web was then in a crucial stage of development and regulation. We approached the design, programming, and conceptualization of the site with a view towards protecting public freedoms in cyberspace and putting into play the public's engagement with the site.

Within the site our approach was to to submit an uncensored write-in of texts from cyberspace and each of the 10 Minneapolis artists' texts to a unique typographic treatment. Seeking to push the limits of the browser technology available at that time, we constructed an automatic typesetting/pinsetting mechanism which "comments" on the writing within it. In the spirit of typographic experimentation's of the early avant-garde, the Web site apparatus translates each letter into code which then appears on screen as a "material" visual image, working toward blurring the distinction between verbal and visual and interfering with standard syntactic activity. To the extent that this site mirrors and was in fact interlinked with the demolition apparatus at Bryant Lake Bowl (each physical pin being linked to one artist's directory of texts), these texts underwent a further breakdown as they were scrambled by the ball striking at BLB and on site.