Intro to Word High

(an animation adapted from a poem by Lance Strate, dedicated to Steve Jobs)

Word High is a Flash animation adaptation of Lance Strate's wonderful poem. I am dedicating Word High to Steve Jobs. My art could not exist without Steve Jobs and his magical computer company. The evolution of Apple, from producing desktop computers to laptops to iPods to iPhones to iPads, impacted on me, albeit subtly, helping shape my long-term artistic goals. Thus a part of me has always been bothered that my animations were being viewed on desktop or laptop monitors too big for their aesthetic needs. The ideal monitor size for my animations lies in between a nineteen-inch television set and an iPhone: i.e., an iPad. Alas, in its current state the iPad is not Flash compatible (Flash being the form I am currently most exploring). But to help describe why I have grand hopes for the iPad, let me quote a letter Laurie Spiegel wrote the New York Times Sunday Magazine in response to an essay deriding pioneer iPad users as being too trendy:

For those of us who use our iPhones for email, note taking, reading the NY Times or reading books in the Amazon Kindle app., all far more than we use them for voice calls, we have found ourselves aching and yearning for a larger screen, a bigger virtual keyboard, for something coincidentally just like an iPad. Can it be that the iPad was created to fill actual pre-existing market demand? Might iPhone users inside Apple have felt the same needs as those outside of Apple? Could the reasons to buy it right off the bat be that we all know exactly what we want and have known it for years already? No, not for cool, not for image, not for concept, not for style. It is not new as in "from outer space." It is not a pet rock. It is the long-awaited very obvious next step. We are getting it for plain ordinary boring old-fashioned functionality.
Yes, the iPad evolved from the iPhone, but surely it has aesthetic possibilities beyond its functionality. Later versions of the iPad will scarcely be Flash compatible just so I can present my animations on them. However, I do feel that what I am doing artistically reflects the technology I use to express myself. On a certain level, the Lance Strate poem I am adapting here cuts to the heart of my fascination with animating text - breathing visual life into language. Don't get me wrong. I am perfectly happy with how this animation runs on my desktop and laptop monitors, much as people were perfectly happy with using iPhones for email, note taking, reading the NY Times or reading books in the Amazon Kindle app...until the iPad came along. Aesthetics follows functionality. I have no doubt the iPad will evolve, both in terms of functionality and aesthetics.

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