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Read, apply, create. Condradictions are intentional. The world of this website is also an open one. The manifesto is still a work in progress.

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A website is a world.

Every website is a world. A website begins and comes to be, just as worlds do. Every website is a specific contextual environment and vessel shaped by its creator and then dwelled in. Every website is a world. Every website is a totality, a body that constitutes its own entities and stories, evoking a bordered place. A website is in constant relation to other websites around it. A website is held together by human activity and belief, positing a future and an environment within its premises. A website is a world. We are creators.

What worlds will your websites hold? From what worlds have your websites been built of? What world can be found on your site?

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A website is material.

Any world can be reduced into some component breakdown, as a website can be reduced to a bundle of HTML, CSS, JS, and other accompanying assets. Any thing that can be reduced to a material must have an essence beyond these components — process, structure, and frameworks matter, but how these materials come to be in the world and our understanding of them alter our relationships with websites. A website as a bundle of files is often a forgotten factor.

How can your website be reduced? At what stage of putting together does your website suddenly have greater form? How would you like for your website to be broken down?

A website is what you make of it.

The most important thing when it comes to making websites is to detach yourself from what the “idea” of a website should be, and instead focus on the website as an infinite medium and blank canvas. We have an overwhelming amount of tools, frameworks, and materials at our disposal to build websites – but it is in this conceiving of what a website is and could be that limits us. Think of it as an infinite form and a belief that is manifested through your website in one way, then see how you might adapt its being afterwards.

What do you imagine your website to be? How can it be boundless? How can you make the act of creating the world of your website continuously generative? How would you like to constrain this making?

A website is the making of a world, accelerated.

There is no more opportune time to partake in creating websites and the worlds within them. Websites can be remixed, built off older websites, expansions of existing worlds, presentations of entirely new alternate realities. Consider the pluralities and multiplicities of web-weaving: the more websites and worlds there are, the more environments we can choose to immerse ourselves in. The act of creating a website is an act of agency and expression.

A website is intervention.

As alternate world bound to the physical tools of this world, websites act as experimentation grounds to suppose alternate realities and tools for our construction – extant within screens and software, often displaced by their proximities to capitalist structures that we must constantly negotiate and break from the bounds of. In constant negotiation within its institution, produced within an institution that works to resist it—with the qualities and affordances to break from environments that posit alternate realities and truths.

What boundaries and norms is your website situated in, and how are you intervening on these structures?

A website is inhabited.

By people, agents, and robots - a website is a dwelling space inseparable from people; an interplay between clients and servers as abstractions of encounters between man and machine. It is in this inhabiting that the full world of the website is revealed: in what those inhabit bring to it, in the environment that is shaped by this being. As a habitat, a website is its environments and infrastructures inasmuch as it is its messages and content—it cannot be reduced to just a series of inputs and outputs. It can be made to inhabit one, all, or nothing.

What boundaries and norms is your website situated in, and how are you intervening on these structures?

A website is its creator.

Reflecting on the desires and intents of those who have shaped it, the form of a website is inseparable from that of its maker. A website lives another life once it survives its creator, a form of sufficiency and resilience often never realized with the form and being of the websites.

How will the website you build continue to shape the world beyond you? The world you left? How do you fragment yourself across different websites? How do you define the relationship you have with your identity and your website?

A website is a tool.

Built by, composed of, and taking role as tool–websites are shaped by humans to facilitate generation (or anti-generation). Websites as tools shape how we work and what we understand to be possible in terms of building—in the world posited within a website, and in their relation to the world outside. They carry on the wills of their makers for their users to extend or subvert these expectations. A website must be seen and understood as a tool to shape its world, and to shape further worlds. As a tool, nature and being are expressed.

Who is your website for and who is it not for? For who does your website serve? For who did you intend your website to serve?

A website is a site.

Located at a point in physical space and cyberspace, a website posits a place of being designated for dwelling and use. We encounter a website at a physical site, engaging it at its own site. While obscured, the interfacing with a website is an embodied interaction where we are always situating ourselves to further situate our place in a website.

Where is your website situated? Where are you when making your website? Where are people when encountering your website? Where would you like to bring them?

A website is a way of loving.

As websites are tended forms of human expression, with human intervention present at every stage. In making, growing, and creating websites, we are offered opportunities to express love, attention, and concern for one another. A loving website is made by the people we love, for the people we love.

Melanie Hoff teaches Digital Love Languages based on the premise that “there is a world where all our software is made by people who love us and that we can contribute to building it.”

A website is a gathering.

Accumulations of objects, people, and itself: websites present temporary alternative worlds. The gathering occurs at a predictable site of connection, at place where we can determine when everyone has loaded themselves in. In worlds of infinite multiplicities, the imposition of constraints as ordered by code and logic is liberating and radical. The world as closed has made itself whole.

What does your website bring together? What are the points of gathering, offline and online? How do you computationally commune?

A website facilitates.

Beyond initial encounter, we take and witness varying roles of the active or ambient, dynamic or passive, uploader and downloader–as facilitated by the website. These modalities and their visibility reveal (or obscure) relations of power, agency, and participation; oftentimes, website visitors have the power to transform, dictate, and claim underlying logics and narrative present on a website for somewhere else.

A website prompts us to encounter. A website brings us towards something.

A website breathes.

Even the most puerile and stale of websites have come from human rule and intent, even if these are thousands of steps divorced from how we encounter them. Whether handcrafted or autogenerated, a website (whether intended to be presented as such, as itself, or otherwise) is constructed by man, held by man, and bears space for man. Its breath is our breath. The breath of a website provides a passive ambience, an indicator of life.

What does your website need to inhale and exhale?

A website is ambient.

Filled with invisible materials and pervasive in our everyday, we can create websites that serve us without demanding our attention — instead being generative presences. Like light that is all around us, we can choose to create and be on websites that are more calm, passive, and soft; gentle in their being, yet present. When we are truly immersed and in communion with our websites, we withdraw to their ambience, as our ambience becomes them and their ambience becomes us.

Aside from screensaver websites, what websites display ambient qualities? Alternatively, how can ambient qualities be hostile? What affordances of the web would you consider to be “ambient”? What of ambient data?

A website takes the shape of its container.

Like liquid water, the website takes the shape of the container in which it is kept. But websites do not just take form – they adjust form. Most websites are contained in rectangular desktops or portrait mobile screens. The most frictionless action is to vertically scroll (as the mouse makes horizontal movement difficult, than with trackpads or touch screens). Form and action can be rewired at varying breakpoints, sizes, and conditions–manipulating content or seizing it entirely. A website might be more fluid than water.

What does your website fill itself with? What types of containers does it favor? What does it not? How would you pour your website out?

A website has infrastructure.

Choose whether to obstruct or emphasize. With the former as the default, the latter is often a more interesting act. When we create websites, we consider the technical infrastructure needed that allow us to build and maintain them. The tools we choose to build our websites, hosts, and domains are seemingly simple steps that contain their own politics. We can ignore these decisions and cede to the web that seeks to obscure these factors from us, but it is a radical act to be aware of what labor and materials are necessary to host a website and then access it.

What is your website built on? Do you obstruct or emphasize it? How does your website react to what is needed to maintain it? What is needed to maintain your website? What supports your website? What are the human infrastructures needed? The material?

A website has a lifespan.

It wakes and then it might die. There is no website that lives on for eternity, but the longevity of a website is often complicated by its interplay with other networks. Websites are naturally predisposed to decay and be abandoned (as the internet by decay is the internet by design), especially when shaped by hand. It is important to honor the lifespan of a website: whether it is a lifespan dictated by the server in which its contents are hosted on, or the publicly-known TLD that points to the chosen nameserver to the IP address. The web’s decay does not happen linearly – its death happens in a fractured manner, its residue and skeleton spread across the internet where it dies a million deaths. The web is ephemeral and kept alive only by intention. Choose to honor the way it could live a life and whether it is worth keeping alive. Must it survive its creator and take on new life? If it is worthy of saving, work to save it.

How long is your website intended to live? What do you do after the life of a website? How can it be revived?

A website has its creation myth.

Every website has an origin story and mythologies that occur after it. Technology is interesting because of the narratives that form around it – as the web has a fragile history and its users even more fragile memories, it is important to consider the agency we hold over its narrative. A website might mark itself as other, utility, isolated, the work of outsiders, work interdependent on another. Their position in mythologies give them more power than the practice of history.
A website is a narrative tool, a tool for telling stories, and stories are tools. A website constructs power not because of mere utility, but the narratives formed around it. As creators of websites we consider this role of authorship in which we can take control of or extend narratives of our websites.

What is the creation myth of your website? How are these mythologies built on? Where does it draw from? How does it different from its other origin stories?

A website is an environment.

In constant engagement with its users, its ‘natural’ order, its infrastructures, and environments—a website is an environment. In this space it molds us and immerses us into a way of thinking and doing through the utility and ambience it provides and induces. Beyond their materialization, they construct spaces where nature is revealed or concealed. A website becomes a medium that is an “infrastructure of being”. It is in these environmental qualities that we are shaped, and where realities are constructed and dwelled within.

A website contains ecosystems.

If a website fosters people and their movements, they too, might foster and mold larger interconnected and interdependent systems that enable these surface interactions to happen. This happens at the infrastructural level and beyond: how we enter websites might be its ecosystem of access, its means of negotiating how it is indexed and hyperlinked to. A website architects its frameworks and orders for people interact, interface, and move across them – fostering an abundance or hostility. A website creator can only control so much of its ecosystems: they are subject to external control and negotiations.

What environments have you designed your website to cultivate? To be hostile against?

A website is a constant act of translation.

Content that lives on a website is a constant act of communication and re-coding. Making for the web positions you in the role of translator and maker — a translator of form, content, structure, modalities for participation. In constant cognition and interplay with new structures and modes of power by displacing content on a website. Even within the code editor, we bring in text, visuals, audio, and other forms of media in websites – the core of these contents rarely being ‘native’ to the web, where what is ‘native’ is predominantly the functions of display and translation.

Translation is then the inherent language of the web; as coding is an act of re-coding, as technology is a tool that rewires narrative and communication, in how material is displayed and whom it is displayed to. We bear constant duties as translators, whether textual/imagistic/auditory components were made for sole and first display on the web or otherwise. As translator, consider whether the experience on the website can cleanly be lifted to a different media format (this can be an intentional gesture), or if the work has been translated in a way that is only experienced on the web.

What role do you take as translator? How is form translated? Content? Modes of interaction? Modes of viewing? How has translation re-coded intent? What still stays true?

A website has religions.

Within a website, belief emerges. It is molded to examine us, to lead us to encounter new dimensions, and acts as a portal to worlds displaced from our own — yet not too distantly so. Partaking in a website is a natural act of faith: we believe in its messenger and call, ascribing our own systems of power and beginning to take on ritual. Different websites might take the form of different supremes. Different encounters with websites might make us believers in a polytheistic space.

What does your website worship? Who on your website worships? Does every website worship?

A website is a parade.

It is in a website’s being of a world that it turns into the grandest procession for all those present in it: a ritual gathering, encounter, and event that can occur for even a parade of one or none. Each website is a marching for those who dwell within it, a sense of grandeur for immersion and for purpose, an evocation of emotion and a statement. The parade moves on within this website or others.

What is your website marching towards? What is the nature of the parade? How does your website contain a small yet intentional grandness?

A website is a memory.

Memories as fragile representations of the past than true captures, it is no wonder that websites especially lend themselves to nostalgia. No internet archive captures how people have interfaced and dwelled with a website at one point in time. Indexing websites is an imperfect act, links rot and complex websites rely on scripts and databases external to them that may not be salvaged. Even in the present act of publishing, a website is a memory of another point in time.

How do you intend to remember your website? What should be forgotten? How do you save your website? How do you determine what is worth remembering? How do you capture a website beyond taking a screenshot of it? What metadata is essential?

A website is (re)publishing.

Encountered at any stage of its process, websites are a continuous act of (re)presentation, (re)assembly, (re)publishing, refutation upon itself. Unlike many other forms of media, websites can be continuously republished, inherently anti-perfection and imprecious. Where the visibility of these republications is an additional strategy in (il)legibility. As in the legibility of publication, in how it is indexed, crawled, and stored by external archives that resists or demands a fixed viewing.

Is your website legible or illegible, and how is this strategy executed and to what is its intent? How do you determine when and what to publish on your site? How do you treat your websites differently than you do other forms of media?

A website is a portal.

Portal is now a term that can refer to the web native act of “providing access or links to other sites”, but websites can act as portals in the broadest of senses. Traversing through hyperlink portals and bringing us into new worlds, websites are constantly engaged with other websites and represent materials. They are entrances into other worlds, the world of itself. With clicks or temporal delays, a world of hypertext is innately one of movement and transformation. This is the nature of engaging with the web itself, and with the form and contents of the web.

What entrances and portals do you welcome your websites towards? What does moving through your website feel like? How do you position movement on your website against the rest of the web? How might a ‘portal’-like quality distance our encounters with websites from how we move through physical locations?

A website is a sea.

As uncharted territory, the waters of a website leave us to drift and steer ourselves towards direction. A sea of seas, the internet provides us infinite directions to choose and paths to move towards, at varying depths. At different times, a website may change form. Although slightly antiquated, the term “surfing the web” still reigns true — we go from one page to another, one website to another, browsing, seeking. Treating our websites as points in a sea bring us to a time of concerted effort in our movements, where each course we follow must be carefully chosen.

What lies at the bottom of your sea? How are the depths of your website navigated? What modes of navigation and seafaring have you opened up your website to? How do you feel about the term “surfing the web”? What part of that might still be true and how have parts of it disappeared? What practices can we borrow from seafarers?

A website is a room.

Less wide-reaching and more enclosed than an entire world, we can also look to websites as manageable rooms — not unlike the one we find ourselves in at present. With closed borders, specific meaning, and contexts, a website can also be reduced to a room. It is malleable, yet somehow fixed upon our encounter. The next time we enter the room, its objects might be temporarily shifted. Adjacent rooms can be encountered like links.

We name our rooms, like “living room” or “bedroom”. How do you name the room of your site? For what purpose does it serve? How do you move it around? What is it like to come over? What’s next door?

A website is alive.

Breathing, organic, incubating — a website is alive. Our encounters with websites bring life into websites, as websites bring life towards us. Eventually, websites begin fostering the life of their own, or they may begin losing life and moving towards decay. Expression furthers life, participation furthers life, production furthers life. Websites might not need us to maintain this life, but the lack of care can cause loss of life. Alternatively, a website may gain more autonomy than expected with its creator’s relinquishment of control — becoming its own tiny infinities. Like any tended thing, a website is alive.

How do you care for a website at the beginning of its life? What lifes does your website take on thereafter?

A website is an act of reclamation.

Subject to and part of the internet around it, creating our own websites reads as an act of resistance and reclamation. If the promise of technology might have been one of people, the reclamation of a website is to reassert our ability to placemake and be on the web — cultivating spaces for ourselves and the people we love. We build for ourselves, we build to reshape our notions of the web.

How might your website subvert the internet around it? Do you build with the ‘older’ web in mind? What are the qualities of it that you would like to see? What parts of offline life would you like to reclaim digitally?

A website is a manifestation of the promise of the internet.

Studying the history of the internet is essential as we build components of it — but the promise of the internet has never been clear, and its one “of people” is interweaved with usage for military purposes and surveillance. Disjunctive forms of webmaking and new protocols enabled by our being on websites allow us new ways of being on the web. The promise of the internet might then be the promise of people, or how people reclaim it from its transgressive routes. Websites are worlds and promises of alternate realities: one of the most powerful ways we can make and realize promises for the web.

What are some disjunctive forms of webmaking that you’d like to embark in? How do you reclaim the promise of the internet? How have you viewed its extant or historical promises? How does this promise relate to the Javascript promise?

A website is infinite.

Made to be generative, to loop back, to artifact recursion and its own infinities, a website can be ruled to be never-ending and expanseless. A website need not have a definitive end, nor a definitive beginning (an ‘index.html’ can be rewired endlessly). The modern web has popularized the notion of the ‘infinite scroll’, presenting even finite amounts of content in an endless stream. One can program an infinitely-generated stream of content they choose. Websites lend themselves to multiple infinities.

Does your website end, or is your website forever?

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