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posted on 08.20.09

Today the New York Observer noted that Anna Wintour, Vogue's fashion matron, had finally started to "get the web." She's only a decade and a half behind, but she'll likely catch up quickly once she realizes how vast Vogue online empire can be.

I've heard people in the fashion industry talk about this before: a great reluctance to embrace the fugitive, informal world of browsers and instant messages. (Speaking at the 2008 Frieze Art Show, ShowStudio’s Penny Martin spoke of the difficulty of finding online collaborators: "Everybody would just say, 'we don't do the internet.' They were slightly embarrassed by the visual culture of it and weren't interesting in besmirching some luxury iconography with something that seemed a bit tacky.")

While many in literature "got the web" long before Anna Wintour, the literati is snobbish too. Among those who published books and had their essays and fiction in respected journal before the World Wide Web took over, there's still a certain residue of prejudice against blogs and tweets. And being "in print" still holds certain gravity to which being published online can't compare.

However, a few online publications have managed, quite impressively, to channel the veneer of literary intellectualism. Action, Yes is one such publication. The online quarterly has managed to embrace the medium of the internet while still accessing the fugitive appeal of a broadsides with the cleverly minimal aesthetic of the revered journal October. The pages on Action, Yes Online are clean--no ads, pop-ups, or banners distract from the text--and the paragraphs are short enough to be digested in one glance (no scrolling required). The web projects or images pages, always subtle, remain nicely contained within the frame of the journal's online pages. And, for those who still can't read online, each page has printer-friendly duplicate.

Most importantly, Action, Yes publishes web-friendly writers, writers who, though historically versed and excruciatingly well read, are really trying to merge the tradition of language as art with the visual and literary culture of right now. My favorite writers in Action, Yes--Ariana Reines is one of them-- acknowledge through their form the fact that technologically produced information and images now comes to us more quickly than ever before.

The summer 2009 volume of Action, Yes explored Abstract Comics, incest, and ahead-of-its-time art of the Weimar Republic.

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