Ken Jordan digital multimedia consultant

recent projects

The Augmented Social Network. Could the next-generation of online community support civil society by better connecting people to others with whom they share affinities, so they can more effectively exchange information and self-organize? Could such a system help to revitalize democracy in the 21st century? These questions were the focus of a two-year process that brought together leading figures from computer science, independent media, and the environmental movement. The result is a proposal for an "Augmented Social Network" that enhances the effectiveness of social networks in the same way that the personal computer enhances individual creativity. Central to the ASN is an effort to build a civil society form of trust and identity into the infrastructure of the Internet. The paper, "The Augmented Social Network: Building Identity and Trust Into The Next-Generation Internet," co-written with Jan Hauser and Steven Foster, was presented at the Planetwork Conference, "Networking a Sustainable Future," in San Francisco June 6-8. It was subsequently published on First Monday.




Planetwork Journal. Coming Spring 2004: The influence of information technology on fields as diverse as environmental science, biology, ecological design, alternative economics, distributed democracy, social network theory, and interactive forms of art has transformed the landscape of the possible. Vibrant new ideas are emerging from this radical cross-pollination. Over the past four years, PlaNetwork conferences have been a meeting place for researchers, theorists, entrepreneurs, and activists working at this intersection between technology and societal transformation. PlaNetwork Journal will be a peer-review online publication for in-depth articles by those engaged in this cross-disciplinary approach, applying new technology to benefit the public interest. It will be a place where researchers, theorists, engineers, and activists can present their work and ideas to those outside their own field who share their concern about the challenges facing the ecosystem and democracy. The PlaNetwork Journal will be a joint project of two not-for-profit organizations, PlaNetwork and the Buckminster Fuller Institute, and will co-edited by Elizabeth Thompson and yours truly.


Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality. MFWTVR is a book and website project that traces the history of digital multimedia from its duel sources in the modernist avant-garde and in mainframe computing through to the invention of the first multimedia-enabled personal computer and the groundbreaking digital artworks of today. Using the writing of the pioneering artists and engineers themsevles, we present the development of the core concepts underlying digital multimedia as they progress in the arts and sciences. Co-edited with Randall Packer, an expanded paperback edition of MFWTVR was released by W.W. Norton in December, 2002.



Universal Hobo. In 2002 the singer/activist Stephan Smith, Amy Hufnagel and I founded an independent company to record and distribute Stephan's songs, while cultivating an alternative national touring network through the peace and global justice movements. We began by releasing Stephan's anti-war anthem, "The Bell," which he recorded with Pete Seeger and Ween, as a free MP3 over the Internet on the first anniversary of 9/11. We later released the song as an EP and it was added to the rotations of over 100 public and college AAA radio stations. A full-length CD, "New World Worder," was released in June 2003, and a new album, "Slash and Burn," will come out in June, 2004.


Art and Culture Network. In 2002 The ArtCouncil, Inc., brought together leading web projects devoted to the arts to create the Art and Culture Network. ACN provdes a not-for-profit publishing and distribution platform that supports the online initiatives of contemporary art institutions. It includes,, and Pachyderm, the online exhibitions publishing tool developed by SFMOMA. The first phase of work was completed in early 2003.



Articles and Essays.

THE CLICK HEARD ROUND THE WORLD - An interview with the awe-inspiring genius Doug Engelbart about his invention of digital media, done as an "as-told-to" for Wired magazine.

These recent essays can be downloaded in MS Word format.

DEFINING DIGITAL MULTIMEDIA - What is or isn't digital multimedia, and why does it matter? The first 3 of 4 parts of an essay in progress.

STOP. HEY. WHAT'S THAT SOUND? - How does digital media change the way we hear, and how is hearing shaped by technology? This essay will appear in Sound Unbound, edited by Paul D. Miller, forthcoming from MIT Press.

FREEZE FRAME: SOUND IN THE ERA OF DIGITAL NETWORKS - A selective survey of what has happened since sound was separated from its source. A collaboration with Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid).


Ken Jordan is one of the pioneers of Web-based multimedia. In 1995 he led the development and served as founding editorial director of, the first multimedia music zine and digital music store. SonicNet was named best website of 1995 by Entertainment Weekly and won the first Webby award for music site before becoming a property of MTV. In 1996 Mr. Jordan became creative director of Icon New Media, publisher of two seminal, award-winning online magazines: the general interest zine, and the action sports site In 1999, he co-founded the public interest portal, in partnership with Globalvision and the international civil society network; it was OneWorld's first U.S. based project. In 2002-2003 he was Director of the Art and Culture Network. He is currently a writer and digital media consultant based in New York, with articles recently published in Wired, Index, and other journals.

Mr. Jordan is co-editor of Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality (W.W. Norton, 2001), an anthology of seminal articles that trace the "secret" history of digital multimedia; the book is widely taught at colleges and universities around the world. Outside the digital realm, he collaborated with the playwright and director Richard Foreman on the book Unbalancing Acts: Foundations for a Theater (Pantheon, 1992).


Ken Jordan
258 West 22nd Street, #3E
New York, NY 10011
Email: ken at kenjordan dot tv

Last updated March 9, 2004.