This piece presents an intriguing case of problems that can arise with proprietary authoring tools. In 2007, Andrews started to develop “Jig-Sound,” a work that expanded upon his exploration of interactive audio. Andrews started this in 2000 with works like “Rude Little Song,” “Oppen Do Down,” and “Nio” all of which used snippets of looped audio recordings of his singing voice (Andrews was once in a band and an acapella group). Each piece offers interfaces that allowed for stacking or sequencing each audiovisual elements, and “Jig-Sound” offered the most sophisticated tools of them all, that is, until the release of Adobe Director 11 in 2008.
Here’s a little historical context: Macromedia launched “VideoWorks” back in 1985 (changing its name to Director in 1988) as a multimedia authoring tool used to create applications based on a timeline and producing output for CD-ROM, Kiosks, and eventually Shockwave files on the Web. In April 2005, Adobe purchased Macromedia— mostly interested in its other product, Flash— but aside from re-packaging Director as an Adobe Product and offering a patch to resolve some issues with Director MX 2004, it mostly left the product alone. When it released version 11 in 2008, it was significantly changed, sporting a new audio engine and other features.
And “Jig-Sound” no longer worked. The published Shockwave files still play, thanks to some backwards compatibility, but they occasionally cause the Shockwave player to crash. Jim Andrews, after completing a few new “heaps” for the work, moved on to other projects. “Jig-Sound” remains to this day, a “work in progress.”
And Adobe seems to have largely abandoned Director and its community of creators. What will happen when the company decides to stop developing the Shockwave player or stop providing backwards compatibility? I am seeking solutions, and have opened a project in DHCommons to explore this issue.