Ghost Sites of the Web

Web 1.0 history, forgotten web celebrities, old web sites, commentary, and news by Steve Baldwin. Published erratically since 1996.

November 01, 2003

What's So Dead About Dead Media?

After coming back from Rotterdam, I began thinking long and hard about what and where I want to take this project. Running a project like Ghost Sites for seven years has immersed me so thoroughly in the lore of "The Lost Web" that it's been a real battle to see what lies beyond the cyber-wreckage.

So what lies beyond the legion of abandoned Web sites that have cluttered my consciousness these past seven years? Well - nothing: a yawning abyss, a vortex of post-futurist mu-ness. And so, with this spirit in mind, I contacted Bruce Sterling, to see whether there was any way I could apply my particular spiritual fungus to any sort of cultural work that he's now doing. Bruce and I have sort of crossed paths before - several years ago, I interviewed him for a lost Wired News project called "The Real Web", and I nearly ran into him on the Lower East Side in 2000 for an event called "Man Transforms". It turned out that Bruce is in need of somebody who can help reanimate his long-standing Dead Media Project, and I offered to step in and help out with the e-mail list.

I've always liked Bruce's work, and consider him to be one of cyberculture's founding madmen. If I can lend a hand to, well, that's just a good thing to do. But frankly, I'm also doing this for reasons of self-interest, because I believe it will allow the collective research base represented by this project to expand into new areas that need to be researched so that Ghost Sites can move further into the yawning abyss referenced earlier.

This is not a merger - Ghost Sites will steam on to its own peculiar destiny, and will simply reanimate a bit, braced by the mad efforts of our skeleton crew to engage in issues that amplify and further contextualize our own media studies weirdnesses. So Ghost Sites - this foothold on the lava mountain - will continue, right here on In fact, if you've been watching this site since the Spring of 2003, I hope you've noticed that there's a hell of a lot more activity than there's been in years. And with Morbus' continuing support, I fully expect to be here in the year 2006 to celebrate GS's 10th Anniversary, provided the whole cosmos (or at least my part of it) doesn't go "pffft" before then.

Anyway, here is the announcement that Bruce posted tonight on his e-mail list. I believe it says it all.

From: Bruce Sterling
Date: Fri Oct 31, 2003 08:44:01 PM US/Central
Subject: Viridian Note 00388: The Eerie Revival of Dead

Key concepts: Dead Media Project, media studies,
Steve Baldwin

Attention Conservation Notice: Has nothing to
do with environmental issues, even though a
patch of California the size of Rhode Island
is on fire.

The Dead Media Project died some time ago,
although all the data is still there. (Whew!) Years of
selfless labor! The world's greatest single
repository on the subject of weird, gimmicky,
extinct forms of communication! I worked on
that thing for ages.

But Halloween rolls around == and lo, the

Suddenly a new, selfless martyr is willing to appoint
himself editor of the Dead Media mailing list!
It's Steve Baldwin of "Ghost Sites," the website
where extinct websites live on (whether they
want to or not)!

You can see from this that, if anything,
Mr. Baldwin is overqualified for the job.

Here is his email. If you want to be on the
revived Dead Media mailing list, let Steve Baldwin know.

Lord knows I will. If you want to contribute,
even better. Needless to say, since Dead Media
Project went into abeyance, media have been
dying at unprecedented rates. There is
plenty to discuss in this line of research,
and just maybe, someday somebody will
really write that "Dead Media Handbook."

Tangentially, I am informed that my
installation "Embrace the Decay" (a work
blatantly infected by dead-media aesthetics) has broken
all previous LAMOCA records for web art traffic,
over at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

A rare but precious example of Viridian design
activists actually designing something! Hooray
for us!

O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O




O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O

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