PRINT October 1997

Julia Scher on virtual travel

IT USED TO BE that the drive there was part of the fun, part of the excitement and expectation, the agony and anticipation of arrival. But with the Web, travel isn’t the same as “going” used to be. While you’re going someplace on the Web you might also be eating, watching, waiting, stalling, spying, exploring, forecasting, recording, archiving, or tripping.
Usually, Destination X is a video-camera-made “image plug” of some place interesting for one reason or another, and often you can make it more interesting by twisting and rotating the camera angle. An image plug is simply an image serving as a seduction point and sales hook for the site itself—for example, Steve Mann’s “wearable safety Webcam,” which takes you live to wherever Steve happens to be. Steve wears his camera on his head at all times and transmits what he is seeing, where he is, directly onto his Website ( The live-time rendering of “X” delivered by an interface rather than by pressing flesh to the windshield can even be enhanced by other products that spice up the performance of interactives. You can get mesmerized by being plunked down into successive weather update grids that advance one city, one continent, one planet, one camera view at a time, or even all at once.
A massive array of space. You are there . . . er, it’s in your house.
Postbiological traveling crosses paths with voyeurs, sentries, censors, firewalls, search inhibitors and enablers, surprise security announcements, consciousness handlers and technicians, and hot market sellers. But this joy-ride transmission is another topic.

Julia Scher is an artist based in New York.