The Progressive Dinner Party Restored

Shockwave and Flash

As of 2019, Adobe discontinued its support for Shockwave, while support for Flash will end in 2020. This means that any digital works that used these software programs will soon become obsolete. There are at least eight works within The Progressive Dinner Party that utilize these software programs, and though the Flash works could be easily viewed the Shockwave files would not play in most modern browsers. Fortunately, the Pale Moon web browser offers a downloadable Shockwave extension that allows files such as these to be viewed. At present, the Webrecorder can emulate browsers that support Flash but has yet to support Shockwave, but can record these files nonetheless. Thus, these works require browsers that support Shockwave in order to view them.

The Flash and Shockwave works are generally visual in nature, though some works use the software to play background music (such as *water always writes in *plural by Linda Carroli and Josephine Wilson.) Many of them are also highly interactive, such as The Intruder and Illusions, Philosophical Toy World. Still, the majority of them simply played videos or included moving imagery. 

Animations created in CSS were not common until around the 2010s, so Flash and Shockwave were used to fill this niche during the explosion of the World Wide Web. But because Flash and Shockwave were so similar, the two competed for dominance (with Flash eventually winning.) Flash was released in 1996 as FurtureSplash by FutureWave Software, but was soon purchased by Macromedia and renamed Macromedia Flash. Macromedia also owned Director at this time, a software authoring system used for creating interactive CD-ROMs that predated the web. However, before it had purchased Flash Macromedia began outputting Director Files as Shockwave for the web, which meant Flash and Shockwave were fighting for the same audience drawn to interactive media. Eventually, Flash’s ability to play content quickly and its ease of use gave it an edge over Shockwave, despite the software program offering more robust features than Flash did. During this period of success Macromedia sold its products to Adobe, who in 2013 announced it was dropping support of Director, Shockwave in 2019, and Flash by the end of 2020.

Below are the works containing Flash and/or Shockwave files.

*water always writes in plural * by Linda Carroli and Josephine Wilson

The Intruder by Natalie Bookchin

Illusions, Philosophical Toy World by Zoe Beloff

Rice by geniwate

holes-linings-threads by Alicia Felberbaum

Pronunciation: 'fut' or: A Tool and its Means by Claire Dinsmore

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