Out of Touch is my new work commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for Third Hand Plays, a series about electronic literature curated and discussed by Brian Kim Stefans for the SFMOMA blog.
In his article, Stefans draws a comparison between Out of Touch and “a very early piece of internet poetry by the graphic designer Juliet Martin called ‘oooxxxooo,’ …which took as its subject the apparently desperate need of the artist-protagonist for the computer to ameliorate her loneliness.” About my piece, he goes on to say:
Her use of video, particularly the manipulations that reduce reality to iconic or cartoon-like (which I read as linguistic) simplicity, accentuates some of the horror at the base of this piece, which has a quasi-Expressionist element — I can’t help but see echoes of “The Scream” in here, or perhaps, with a very different valence in relation to time and experience (it doesn’t happen in Wilks’s piece), the blurred faces in the work of Christian Boltanski.
Making Out of Touch
Despite my background in film-making and scriptwriting, I rarely set out with a written script, storyboard or a wireframe design, a blueprint that I execute. I start with a collection (or network) of ideas that I want to explore. Then I experiment; manipulating text, code, images, sounds, video fx, animation, narrative elements… until something meaningful emerges. To me, it seems a very hands-on, even tactile approach, like that of a sculptor or collage artist – although what is there to actually touch? A keyboard, a mouse, a digital drawing tablet. It’s a far cry from handling messy art materials or tussling with camera, tripod, lights on location and reels of celluloid in the cutting room. And yet there’s a strong sense of the haptic in what I do. This preoccupation with touch and its absence is a recurring feature in my work – e.g. the handiwork of the dressmaker in Fitting the Pattern and the sculptor in Underbelly – so I find it interesting that, in relation to Out of Touch, Stefans describes Juliet Martin’s oooxxxooo piece as “linguistic sculpture.” It also highlights how digital synaesthesia is a key expressive quality of digital media arts. And while I’m on the subject of cross-wiring… from crissxross to R3/\/\1X\/\/0RX and more xxxooo…
More Third Hand Plays
See my last post for a list of the previously published works of e-literature in the Third Hand Plays series and Brian Stefan’s accompanying articles. Also keep checking the SFMOMA blog throughout August for more posts in the series.