Written by Toyah Webb & Bianca Rocca
how to reconcile what the internet has done to me…a debris of information, collection, hoarding, storing, sharing, digesting, eating, disposing, appropriating, copying, pasting. spell check, codes, incognito, hyperlink, history, so many tabs, not connected, not relevant, not…associative thought, unstructured…alien.
working title was an online textual collaboration between artists, writers and the public, developed earlier this year. Our intention was to build a discussion around how we engage with text online, offline and what it means to write. Underlying the conceptual rationale of the project were inquisitions regarding the shifting nature of text in an online world. How can (or should) generative techniques like collaboration, appropriation, collecting, and collaging challenge familiar conventions of writing, particularly in academic spaces?
The project took the form of a public Google Document. This format allowed things to be edited, retracted or deleted, lending it an informality that other modes of writing do not. Often when ‘writing’ is discussed, it is in a formal or academic setting. working title aimed to translate that conversation into a new/more casual/contemporary context outside academic frameworks. In setting no boundaries, we let the document take its own course. What was not accounted for, or directly considered in the planning process, was exactly how much the document would diverge from its first entries. We think that being able to share in an unregulated, and optionally anonymous space, catalysed the creative engagement within the project – and the breadth of subjects and issues that this entailed were gladly received.
We would like to use this space to share ideas that arose in the forty-page document. Rather than re-articulating the content, we would prefer to let the screenshots speak for themselves. They explore a ideas ranging from identity, language, colonialism, gender to impermanence, cyberspace, geography, time…. This selection is not intended to summarise the document but, rather, shed light on the complexity of the content.
Finally, we would like to thank all who uploaded, responded and shared within the document. Without your collaboration, there would be nothing.
* The student-led project was supported by CLeaR’s Writing, writing everywhere initiative and was launched as an event on 6 June 2017 at George Fraser Gallery. To find out more, read Liz Ramsay’s account of it, What has the internet done to us as readers and as writers?.