Ars Electronica

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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

Lekso’s Codebox
Wendy Vissar

Code (Albanian: kanun -"rule, measure"): A collection of laws or personal guideposts that determine how one behaves with acquaintances and strangers.The fundamental customary law employed in the Middle Ages in Albania -from The Code of Leke Dukagjini.

Codebox explores the connection between the ways people interact in the real world and in the online world. The goal is to examine the influence that cultural and personal backgrounds and histories exert on how the online community is evolving through computer-mediated communication. To accomplish this, I have developed a web site that draws a direct link between my ancestors'code of conduct and my own online behavior. Personal stories and family photographs illustrate this connection and aim to inspire the viewer to draw conclusions about his or her own life, both online and off.
The foundation for this site is an ancient Albanian code of conduct known as The Code of Leke Dukagjini. It is a set of rules and obligations, passed down over the centuries by word of mouth but not put into writing until 1913. Also known as the Kanun, the code book places honor and hospitality above all else, including honesty. While the code is no longer strictly adhered to (except in the northern regions of Albania, Macedonia, and Kosova) its tenets influence the everyday lives of modern day Albanians. In hypertext form I use photographs, stories and sound files to illustrate several key aspects of the code and their relationship with my modern American-Albanian upbringing. I have also developed interactive pages at the end of each sequence, so that the site viewer may contribute stories and web sites of their own.
The enduring goal of my site is to provoke viewers to become aware of the codes they live their lives by and to examine which of those codes they embrace or abandon when they participate in Internet communication. I use a historical perspective to reveal how aspects of our unique and varied cultural backgrounds shape computer-mediated communication.