hush d1 $ note ((scaleP scalePattern $ off 4 ((+ 2 ).slow 2) $ off 1 (inversion.slow 2) $ off 3 (inversion.slow 3) $ off 1.5 ((+ 2).rev.slow 2) $ generateMelodicSeed ))#s "[pe-gtr:10,midi]" #gain 1 #orbit 0 #midichan 1 d9 $ midicmd "start" # s "midi" d2 $ note ((scaleP scalePattern $ (rotR 3.5) -- $ inversion \n $ (+ slow 8 "x" <~> ((0.5 ~>) generateMelodicSeed)) -- $ slow 2 \n $ generateMelodicSeed ) - 12)#s "[pe-gtr:9,midi]" #gain 1.2 #orbit 1 #midichan 2

Garden vs. Stream

The garden and the stream are two metaphors for our experience of the internet.

the stream

The stream paradigm is extremely common in the modern web. Information exists chronologically and is ephemeral. The user sits in their “stream” as new posts flow by them. Popular social media platforms (twitter, facebook, instagram) as well as blogs are all examples of the stream paradigm. Information in the stream does not exist in context. The context exists in previous utterances in the stream. The user, if they wish to gain the context, must trawl through previous posts. The stream is extremely good at providing a place for rhetoric and humor.

the garden

An older idea of the web takes the form of the garden. As Mike Caulfield says “the garden is the internet as topology”. In the garden, information exists in the context of related information. This context takes the form of hyperlinks. The user is then free to wander the garden by choosing among available paths. Wikipedia is a prominent example of a garden paradigm website as are personal digital gardens. (like the one you are reading now)

For more information, read Mike Caulfield’s 2015 essay on the topic.

Mike argues that the stream paradigm has become so dominant that we use it for many things it is ill suited for and under-invest, massively, in garden like experiences.

I wonder if this may be one partial way of explaining our fractious and increasingly surreal public discourse. Composer Pauline Oliveros, in the 2021 documentary film Sisters With Transistors is quoted as saying the following: “How you’re listening, is how you develop a culture and how a community of people listens, is what creates their culture.” How does the stream paradigm influence our listening?

I would argue that the stream, while useful and a not inherently evil, encourages us to listen only to respond. In mono-culture, it makes us weak to disinformation and ensures only loud and frequent speakers are heard.


Notes mentioning this note



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.