Artist, Content, Audience, the Internet – and David Bowie

When I set up this site recently, I didn’t imagine that I’d be posting anything like a David Bowie video here.

David Bowie passed away yesterday. And my Facebook has been chock-a-block with tributes, memes, a hundred music videos, and this interview.

In this video, Mr. Bowie speaks with great insight and eloquence on the subject of the Internet. And how the internet “will” radically alter the relationship between Artist and Audience. The interview took place in 2000 – and it’s almost spooky how firm a grip Mr. Bowie had on the situation that was just beginning to unfold at the time.

So, what does all this have to do with what I set up to pontificate about?

Part of what I pointificate about is what I refer to as “the 3D Web”. A lot of the time, when I talk to people about my interest in the 3D Web, they wonder, well, why don’t I just write video games? A lot of them are 3D, aren’t they? Why don’t I just give up on the Web, and get involved with writing some cool games?

My point is, the Web is everybody. Gamers are not everybody. When someone creates a video game in the traditional manner, they have to get into the heads of people who own gaming hardware, and regularly acquire new games to slake their thirst for new gaming experiences. When you, as an artist, or a business, or a scientist, or an opinionated blowhard, create content and deploy it on the Web, you exclude no-one. Well, you exclude no-one who has access to a web browser. And certainly and without a doubt, the Audience that can be reached through the web browser is much broader than the Audience that can be reached through gaming-specific hardware. Though a browser, you get as close as you possibly can get to getting to everyone.

As such, our audience is virtually limitless.

And as such, our potential to find new audiences is also virtually limitless.

And as such, the directions we can go in, the things we can try, the ideas we can have, and instantiate, and share with the world, are virtually limitless. Certainly, much more limitless than we’re trying to come up with a new game, that will be the most popular game amongst people who we know have a taste for the most recent most popular game.

Anyway, I’ve talked a bit about this, especially here in the Foundation category. And, as I mourn the passing of Mr. Bowie, I’d like to share this interview. It’s been over 15 years since this – and Mr. Bowie’s ideas about how the relationships between Aritst and Audience, and the relationship between Audience and Content, have not just been re-defined, but completely re-invented, through the magic of the Internet – in ways that are both exciting and terrifying – definitely seem germane not only to music, but to all content and artists’ work.


Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

Author: Pete

Editor-in-Chief, Lead Software Developer and Artistic Director @