Multimedia CD-ROM

Profound Review of App Art, drawing Dragan Espenschied, 2011

Though Dragan insists that there is nothing to add to his “Profound Review of App Art”,
I’ll elaborate a bit. Fortunately we are not the only nor the first ones to notice that all this interactive entertainment that comes in the form of Apps is so much the same crap that we (net artists) fought 15 years ago.

Here is a quote from the review of the Wired Magazine App:

“However, what strikes me most about the Wired app is how amazingly similar it is to a multimedia CD-ROM from the 1990′s. This is not a compliment and actually turns out to be a fairly large problem […]
The only real differentiation between the Wired application and a multimedia CD-ROM is the delivery mechanism: you download it via the App Store versus buying a CD-ROM at the now defunct Egg Head store at your local strip mall. And I really mean that comparison. For all of the interactivity that was touted in the Flash prototype, what we’ve really ended up with is a glorified slide show. Instead of the “Next” and “Previous” buttons you might have been used to on those old CD-ROMs of yore, you instead swipe left and right to change pages (well *cough* images of pages).”

Earlier this year, reviewing iPad version of the Daily newspaper Scott Rosenberg noticed:

“The Daily’s designers are eager to show off sparkling graphics, integrated video, and the swipe-ability that the iPad allows. Unfortunately, they are defining “interactivity” the way the lost pioneers of the 1994-era CD-ROM “multimedia revolution” defined it. They have built a gleaming but limited set of interfaces for users to interact with static, prepackaged content. “

As a person who watches metaphors and idioms, I’d like to add that I enjoy the fact that in the new Millennium term Multimedia CD ROM came back as a curse.

Back to the AppArt exhibition at ZKM we happened to visit last week. It was odd to see dozens of Ipads tightly tied to the walls and podests with the on and off button sealed. And though Ipads are not PCs and should be perfect for the exhibition situation, many projects were just not working, showing new times of error messages — requests to register. Not to mention the condition of the screens. In the afternoon they were really dirty.

Paradoxically the only truly working and thats why exciting to play app was the Small Fish by interactivity masters Kiyoshi Furukawa, Masaki Fujihata und Wolfgang Münch, the work that is now 12 yers old. It was a multimedia CDROM once, then a big projection on a wall of ZKM and now an app.

3 Responses to “Multimedia CD-ROM”

  1. Timo Says:

    Just a bunch of buttons to call up pre-defined actions of a UI is definitely not interactive.

  2. Josephine Says:

    The problem is that so much journalistic focus on new media just follows the money, or at least, they THINK they do.

  3. Brendan Says:

    Right on!

    I remember saying this two years ago:

    iPad + Apps + iTunes Store = Palm Pilot + CD-ROM + AOL

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