Behind this website <Reading the lines>

This entire website has been hand-coded by me. I did not resort to any template for ready-made websites. I created it from scratch. It is coded in HTML 5 (according to W3C international standards and validated), CSS3 and Javascript. These three languages are used to define the content of the web pages (HTML), the form of each page (CSS) and some dynamic interactions (Javascript). If you want to see what it looks like, on any page of the website you can right-click and display the source code of the page. That’s all my work.

Completely unfamiliar with any of these languages at the beginning of the year I followed an online course on openclassrooms.com during November and December for HTML and CSS. It enabled me to fully format my website. As for the small insertion of Javascript, I managed to code it by following the introduction of a course and reading copiously from forums for users. It adds the function of displaying an adequate navigation menu according to the previous path of the visitor. I took my second year portfolio as a pretext to learn these two programming languages. I was mostly lead by curiosity and enjoyment. It is a skill that I will gladly resort to in the future to expose my work online. I remember deliberately staying away from any of it when I was in my engineering school (as opposed to some of the other students craze) but I find it now very valuable when superimposed with an artistic research.

In this case, my research and interest turn around the question: is it possible on a website to follow a narrative-like thread while still satisfying the visitor’s need to choose? Or did we definitely lose the possibility of narration to the all-inclusive summary opening page?

From there comes my attempt at leading the steps of the visitors on my portfolio website. I took some inspiration from teenager book series “You are the hero”. I read in December The Kingdoms of Terror by Joe Dever in a French translation: La Pierre de la Sagesse – Loup Solitaire n°6. In these books the reader has to make a choice (often binary, sometimes ternary) to decide where to continue after each short episode of approximately 140 words. It naturally excludes many alternative episodes. For that reason this structure couldn’t be exactly replicated as I required that all texts be visited.

As I developed it in Same Same, my interest for binary structures is at the root of my artistic vision for this website. I wanted to implement a binary choice of navigation after each of my texts. Working on it with the support of my brother Hugues (an engineer as well as me) we found a solution that had to direct a highly specific ternary choice at the lowest level of the decision tree.[1] It happens for the fourth decision and sends you back to either the second or third level. And this organization meets all my requirements.

As I was toying with code lines in HTML and documenting myself on other people’s websites (Jan Martens, Lucinda Childs, La Ribot, Stina Nyberg…)[2], I started to become sensitive to the beauty of a code line and the possible readings it may convey.[3] During my online classes I also thoroughly kept hand-written notes of the content of the course and especially of some important examples. I came to realize that hand-written code lines are per se useless. They lose all their value as performative speech when they are not in a virtual computer-typed format. To handwrite code lines is a purely gratuitous act. I don’t mind calling it poetry. That is the reason why on the opening page of my portfolio you can see taped on a school wall the hand-written code lines[4] of this very same opening page. Yeah, one may as well begin with a poem.

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Footnotes

[1]

decision tree plus archives of the writing process

[2]

janmartens opening page

Lucinda Childs opening page

la Ribot opening page

janmartens opening page

[3]

poem number 2

[4]

codelines