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The Earth Project, Technology and My Brain

“If only I could take what’s in my brain and transfer it onto WordPress…”

In the last week and a half, I entertained this thought countless times as I sat in the ICI’s main library space, struggling through the technological aspect of the Earth Project. If you were here from the beginning, you might have seen the changes on this website as they were in progress – as we shifted from one theme to the next, adding and removing widgets, changing the text, cropping images.

When we launched the project on June 28th, we directed our terra publica to a very simple website which had our interactive map on the front page. With a white background, minimal images and text from our press release, the website did what it needed to do at the time: have an active, working map and pages directing the user to more information, should he or she seek it.

It sat there on the World Wide Web for about a week before we decided it needed to change.

Thus began the creative chaos – hours of looking at themes, frustration in my failure to manipulate the layout, discussions with Jojo on what we should change, add, or remove. At the very end of the day, we finally decided on a visually stimulating theme centered around the contributions from terra publica – emphasizing our curators’ role on this project.

Brainstorm for the Earth Project

Over the weekend, we worked hours to implement the changes: configuring the thumbnails, experimenting with plug-ins, even ‘hacking’ the theme to fit our needs. There were so many moments when I squinted my eyes in the midst of the WordPress code, thinking that this whole website business was an evil, a hindrance – even though it was such a crucial part of this participatory Internet project. None of us here at the Institute are programmers or professional web designers – so this little feat over technology, to me at least, really shows that with research, creativity and lots of WordPress plugins, we can make the system work for us.

Although I must admit – I still think it’s bizarre how our visions are now transformed over the computer screen via thousands of lines of code – a mixture of odd symbols, letters and numbers which intuitively doesn’t seem visual at all.

This blog entry was originally posted as a part of the 100/10∆10: Mappa Mundi: The Earth Project. Coordinated by Jojo Black and Elisa Baek, this final iteration of the 100/10 curatorial project was open for participation on the Internet from June 28 – August 15, 2011.
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