PRINT February 2003

Pae White

BELIEVE ME, my initial interest in the Internet wasn’t stirred by the richness of available information. It was spawned out of the AOL chat room and its by-products, online voyeurism and exhibitionism. But that was years ago. Still, the access to total strangers—on an astonishingly personal level—is every bit as intriguing a feature of the Internet today. My quest for open intimacy recently led me to weblogs, or blogs.
A blog, as James Alex, creator of recently told me, is a website “made up of usually short, frequently updated posts arranged chronologically—like a ‘what’s new’ page or journal.” Many blogs incorporate links, Jim added, “as odd sorts of footnotes that lead to other places on the Web.” An estimated two hundred thousand blogs are currently running, with hundreds of new ones popping up each day; some of the earliest sites contain archives dating back to 1997. Blogs appear in every language, and one of the best things about reading them is the opportunity to hear fresh voices from other countries. Although blogs tend to focus on the author’s immediate world, they are increasingly devoted to commentaries on current events and politics. The variety of ways in which news is incorporated into and disseminated from these sites is astounding; it underscores the potential of online self-publishing to both complement and challenge traditional media.
Writing about blogs is a bit trickier than visiting them, since blogs are such amorphous, shape-shifting things—but here goes.

Pae White is a Los Angeles–based artist whose work is often inspired by design. Her series of stylized barbecues, created as part of the Minetta Brook–sponsored Watershed project, will go on view at three Hudson Valley locations in May.