Becoming full-time web artist
Interview with Jim Andrews

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4. money and media stew

dd: Nio is half a piece of art half a program that you can use to produce your own music at home. Do you think about making money out of Nio? 

JA: Well, I'm trying to spend my life at this work full-time, and have for the last year and a half. So I have to make a buck somehow. I can't live on arts grants forever. It isn't Nio so much as interactive audio for the Web that I have in mind. I think that there are new forms of music emerging from the Web, and that's exciting artistically. I want to be a part of that. Right now I'd say I'm concentrating on the art, research, tech, and biz of interactive audio for the Web. Instead of Nio, I could have spent more time on developing the tech to greater sophistication than is present in Nio, but I thought, well, it'd be more fun to go whole hog on the art, I am moved more strongly in that direction and, incidentally, a strong piece of art would be more convincing concerning the possibilities of the tech and the biz than an empty shell of technology would be.  

I've laid out some of the possibilities for the art, tech, and biz in an essay called Nio and the Art of Interactive Audio for the Web".  

The arts councils seem to be convinced. Now if I can just get some businesses such as Sonic Foundry interested in it! 

dd: Last can of worms. Whereas your kinetic-conrete poetry could be attached to digital literature your audio-visual poetry rather belongs to digital art - if such a distinction is appropriate at all, what actually happens in the Net where sites are explicitly dedicated to netart or netliterature. How do you see this issue? What is your experience about the ongoing discussion online and offline about digital art and literature, or even about the existence of digital aesthetics at all? 

JA: I try to synthesize arts and media and programming in my work. So some net writers see what I'm doing as reductive of poetry. Etc. Certainly it's true that when you synthesize arts and media, certain things are lost or discarded from a particular art, at least in a particular piece. Yet it's also true that other things are gained in the synthesis.  

Joseph Keppler used to publish a magazine called Poets.Painters.Composers. I asked him about the periods in the title, what they were there for. He said that although the magazine and its other projects contained many collaborations and syntheses between arts, it is nonetheless useful to distinguish the arts. Synergy is between distinct entities. I agree with him.  

I appreciate dichtung-digital for its strong emphasis on digital writing. There isn't too much on your site about digital art more broadly, and that is not a problem. Each medium and art has its own peculiar phenomenology. It is important to understand these on their own terms when you combine and synthesize arts and media. Rather than treat them indiscriminately in a media stew that subordinates one medium or art to another, or mistakes writing for visual art, etc. 

dd: It is interesting that we started our interview with a remark on the synthesis of abilities that digital media demand and now end with the conclusion still to distinguish the arts. This discussion is to be continued. For now, thank you so much for this interview. 

JA: Thank you, Roberto. And thanks for your dichtung-digital.de site--well done!