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By Simon Worthington, 16 October 2008

It is this knowledge of FRUITY CHAT that the hyper media research centre is taking up, researching and developing tools and programmes for Networks (at present the internet), for people to use and collaborate with.....

H R CHyper MediaResearch Centre

Web Weavers With style

Information combined with the word Technology gives us Information technology, Computer combined with Graphics gives you computer graphics and Sassy combined with Digital gives you the 'HRC', Hypermedia Research Centre of course.

Digital media have, in many ways, taken the world by surprise. The word technology might never be found in a printed paper dictionary again, its meaning slipping, a chimera. Technology, it can not

be overstated, is not new, we are technology technne from our earliest evolutionary gene kips. but the digital technologies now at our command certainly are the 'Neu'. To predict the future of these digital technologies from our present transitionary position would definitely be a mistake, but one can expound the current acquired possibilities, and ponder its fruits.

In the few decades that the Internet has been around, from its prosaic beginnings as the military ARPANET, the academics and phreaks who inhabited this version of cyberspace soon started using it to their own recreational ends, exacting that inevitable end of all great technologies: CHAT. This is not the present form of CHAT as proposed by BT (British Telecom), the one to one communication, but an unfamiliar and almost alien presence appearance of CHAT. Fruity chat, as I like to call it, is more fertile and open and is part of what lies at the heart of the excitement of the INTERNET. In essence fruity chat, as these early wildchilds of the internet discovered is the availability of information and open collaboration, many minds it many places finding one another t( work on common interests. 

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It is this knowledge of FRUITY CHAT that the Hypermedia Research Centre is taking up, researching and developing tools and programmes for Networks (at present the internet)that people can use to collaborate with. An important model of working that has been taken or board by HRC from the INTERNET is that of the 'Open Framework', where projects are not closed in by commercial restraints of non-disclosure agreements and the like, and quite the opposite is in fact true. In this model information/ project are seen as thriving from engaging and reciprocating with as many people who wish to take part in them. The benefits of this 'Open Model' of working have their benefits for the individual and the project. Software like Mosaic which has developed into the present day Netscape has arisen from this Open Framework'. And hypertext, which is at the basis of software like Netscape, where the context and the content are imbedded in the document. This hypertext system makes up the intrinsic nature of the internet, connecting thousands of servers, millions of documents to create a space with no centre -only links.

HRC, in its creative drive to expound the use of hypertext, have come up with some of the most stunningly designed and conceived internet PLACES to utilise hypertext in a visual way. As with the web site for the group 'Future Sound of London' FSOL , designed in part by Jeremy Quinn, who is one of the driving forces behind HRC. At the FSOL web site [ http:// web address], a myriad of audio, photo-visual, 3D renderings have been fractured and contradictorily fused via 'hypermedia'. The site confounds your expectations of multimedia and information navigation and, most importantly, shows the way to an emerging visual artistic vocabulary of 'hypertext'.

As you move through the FSOL web site, your pedestrian channel hopping instincts are confronted, not knowing what an image will throw at you as your cursor habitually clicks across its luminescent surface, encountering anything from a bubbling 808 bleep to one of buggy-G's forlorn alien blooms.

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Within the FSOL site, the links that are present do not just take you to a relevant piece of information or more detailed images, rather they are intrinsic to he makeup of the site and are part of a woven matrix that makes the site's creation of an visual, audio and hypermedia entity possible. What that entity is you will only know on your FSOnline is also brilliantly engineered to cope with the available bandwidth of the usual internet user, i.e. the site downloads in an acceptable time frame which is a very important consideration for all us low end users out there.

Throughout the work of the HRC this is an important consideration. To make and enable tools and facilities that live up to the sometimes unrealised ethic of freedom and egality that is integral to network communications. The aims of the HRC are clearly set out on their web site, "to maximise its (the web) potential for social, artistic and technological creativity". In furthering these aims the HRC have adopted a stance that has found its place in the 90s, one of working with and not in opposition to mainstream culture.

Jay's joint, another HRC CHAT inspired internet place, takes the inspiration of CHAT more literally by making CHAT zones! These chat zones are focused on specific articles that appear in the HRC web site and other printed publications, and thus build virtual social spaces where people can download and upload text, audio and video, or hang out, chat and exchange ideas with one another.

To use the phrase coined by corpTMmagazine , HRC are "Corp-lite", performing the cultural innovation that no Corp-can-do; an agile combination of academics, designers and artists developing innovative soft tools and bringing a synthesised visual design to Hypermedia.

Remembering that it is the CHAT that is important as I look forward to the next emergences from the HRC, it must not be forgotten who started this Hyper-Chat, the 'Computer Scientists' who have created the CHAT tools -and not necessarily visually embellished Chat space - as they were, and are, in it for kicks.