is a personal web page if not a digital representation of one's self
image. A collection of structured information one considers important
at the time of creation. Looking back on what was considered the self
representation, what image was created at that age, how information
shifts levels in the years of personal progress shows how relative
those values and images are. With time a full spectrum of past selves
will have emerged tied to a thread of personal history.
process is kind of digital cryonics. Information that you try to preserve
and communicate to the future. Once you die what will be left in cyberspace
is a personal web reflecting something of your personal history. I
see it as a development of what historical photographs of ancestors
and passed family members mean for each individual. I hope my great-great-great...
grandchildren will enjoy looking back on these old time multimedia
collections of their ancestors.
unfolding museum also constitutes data for researchers of the past
and future of cyberspace. Styles, images, beliefs that bare the mark
of trends of the age as well as leaving a collection of digital selves
of humans as they perceived themselves in their interpreted environment
at certain ages. What will emerge is a digital cemetery of personal
webs. The question is if they will be hosted and how.
me creating a personal web is a kind of meditation about my own life
and position. Questions of what is important, what is relevant, what
carries a value for others, what is to be exposed and what is to be
kept in secret? What does the projected web image reflect of your
own being? It is a game of constant re-evaluation of your actions
creative process is a transformation of the ego. One starts with collecting
the bits and pieces of his own personality: historical biography,
family information, education, professional life, hobby and so on.
As one does so questions about the creation arise touching upon the
most intimate part of one's personality: What can one preserve and
represent to others of the self? How does content
relate to form? How
detailed should one topic be, how extended the information, where
to draw the borders of self-identity? What are the limits of the infinite
information that constitutes one person's life? Space
seems to be infinite but time certainly is not...
and organizing personal data helps to identify one's position in time
and space. Once collected it can be selected for distribution or concealment.
What is chosen for preservation has to be transformed to content and
organized in structure. But what is the structure? Every web is just
images and words organized in an artistic form of design and structure,
just like one's personal memory of things.
I created my first web it was strongly hierarchical. The hierarchy
of the web reflected the hierarchy of my personal attitude towards
things. Things on "top" were more important then things
at the "bottom" so to say. The automatics of the tree structure
were applied to personal achievement and biographical data. This hierarchy
remained in the webs for a long time.
is interesting in the hierarchy is how certain elements shift their
position in these virtual trees. One example is how my educational
achievements listed on top in my first couple of webs slowly started
drifting to the bottom and how others things like my professional
life or family life became more important taking the top positions
of the tree. What a perfect parabola of my very own life.
interesting aspect of hierarchical tree webs is that it splits the
content into channels. The information you dispose is diverted into
channels of classified data. This creates a false illusion of personal
integrity: as if any of the constituting elements of personal integrity
could be dissected into channels of "education", "profession",
"family", etc. This is completely false. Much of what relates
to one area of life just as entirely relates to other segments. This
approach to life and thus the representation leads to segmented self
inner need for expressing self identity is exactly what drives humans
to create a personal web - they want their own personal cyberspace
organized in a structure reflecting their ego. Personality and egoism
are the two major driving forces. The process can be however very
my first webs were merely about my ego - my portrait dominating every
page is one good example. The first webs are nothing else but a display
of my personal 'achievements', a show off of my qualities. This was
a useful stage, because it helped me collect my 'qualities' and also
helped me to archive what is now the Library [«
My qualities which I was so much proud of at that time now seem to
be so much less important. Slowly something began to transform so
subtly I hardly realized.
important change was the realization of how reality can be "interpreted".
Every fact of life can be dressed up or disguised to look different
than its full reality. This also brought up questions about what is
a fact - what evidence can one provide to support the truth of one
statement. Cyberspace is a lot more uncontrolled in this respect than
our physical reality and an individual can create any kind of virtual
reality about himself especially in terms of a personal web.
question was also ethical: how much should one distort the reality
of things so they look different. Although my intentions were pure
and I was not interested in creating a false image, my early attempts
clearly show how I tried to "polish" everything in my life
representation so they project the best picture. Every aspect of my
life was exaggerated and everything I have done was expressed in a
way that the medium showed more than the pure fact. This only reflects
my personal psychological state of that time when I thought that everything
I done was very unique and I was the center of the galaxy.
time that slowly changed - I became more "zen". I was less
interested in interpreting the environment I was in, and trying to
restrict the database to facts. This of course involved the re-evaluation
and restructuring of my whole digital ego.
how hierarchical my thinking had been and first I wanted to discard
and turn away from my past selves. On the other hand I realized that
there are many fundamental elements in my past that I should not abandon.
Therefore I understood that restructuring could only be achieved if
one integrates his own personal history without evaluating it in terms
of good and bad or important and not important and embraces it as
there were many outcomes of this realization: I elaborated my family
database with a genealogy and started opening chapters for family
members. In time I hope to dedicate at least one page to every single
member with as much information as I can gather. My intention is to
create a web where I can link as many people as possible and where
the qualities of others are also accessible. I have started including
other people's writings in the Library as one example.
outcome was the creation of the Archives [«
which is the collection of my past cyber-selves as they were. Instead
of discarding them as old and transcended, I have decided to build
a structure where I freeze my digital ego in time and make it available
for future selves to see the progress. In time it may also be a find
for researchers of the past of the internet.
step further was the development of the "Timewarp"
function. This is an extension of the Archives, where you
can jump years within the topical framework. Accordingly it is possible
to view one content as it had been interpreted at certain stages.
This also shows when a certain topic was added to the web or when
it was omitted. This function is only available from 2004 onwards
since adding it to previous webs would have destroyed their original
exactly the most important outcome of my digital meditations is the
new structure: where time is presented vertically, but no verticality
is present in the present. Horizontally the web is completely interlaced,
based on topical relationship and not on "hierarchy of importance".
Accordingly visitors can browse the content freely without being diverted
into channels of biased information and can follow their own course
also reflects my own attitude towards things: I am not trying to place
one thing above the other or be anything anymore, but rather reflect
the many things constantly surrounding me...
feature I have started to include on the pages are the "Soliloquy"
boxes. These are personal honest remarks on how I see the
content from my present perspective. Very often these statements seem
to contradict the original, since much of the representation shows
only the positive aspects of the issue and not the full picture. This
is my new line of Zen. In time I hope that all areas covered will
have at least one short remark on their true nature.
is the result? The result is a manifestation of my digital meditations:
a virtual egotrip and an artistic statement, but also a digital framework
for archiving personal information. If nothing else, it has been a
great tool for personal discovery - and a method I strongly recommend
then the personal representation three collections have been most
Art Gallery [«
, The Library [«
go ] , and a directory for Virtual
Reality (online version only) [«
all those who take interest in investigating it further find something
interesting for their likeness!