Now that I am out of the magnetic sphere of Kenneth Goldsmith's rhetoric, I do have a couple of critical thoughts about his talk.
His criticism of the derivative and even plagiaristic quality of contemporary literature hinged in part on the Booker prize descriptions of the works. The fact that the same description applies to a contemporary coming of age story as well as Romeo and Juliet and To Kill a Mockingbird doesn't speak inherently to the evils of Literature as an art form so much as it speaks to the evils of marketing writing, which is an evil that I believe most authors submit to as a victim. Using the marketing copy written to sell a book to analyze the originality of the work is a little dose of bad faith.
Then, later, during the Q&A session, someone brought up the fact that there is not much new going on in uncreative writing since Quenau and Goldsmith exalted in the interestingness of the spiral of the same experiment being performed again and again in new technological and historical contexts. Why doesn't the same apply to conventional literature? Why doesn't this renewal spiral apply to the coming of age novel? Romeo and Juliet have a different historical and technological and political story than To Kill a Mockingbird which is different to whatever coming of age contemporary novel I'm not reading now or to Lena Dunham's Girls series. Why doesn't conventional literature benefit from the same mechanism?
I am moved by the idea of humans acting like machines, but I am also moved by machines acting like humans. There is a pathos to how crappy they are at it.
Other than that, though, great talk. Artists, like the rest of us, are allowed their contradictions. Just because you stand up in front of an auditorium does not mean that you have to have everything figured out. I hope I get a chance to buy Kenneth a beer before he leaves Berlin!
Looking forward to this one!
Kenneth Goldmith is the founder of Ubuweb. Respondant is Florian Cramer.
The book Uncreative Writing is available from Amazon.
Googlism introduction is very cute.
In Germany there are only 2 programs for creative writing. In the US there are 375 graduate programs for creative writing. The notion of creative writing has been controversial. Linked to realisms of various forms (Tolstoy, Balzac and still contemporary Western mainstream lit).
Brian Geis said, "Writing is 50 years behind painting" and that was 50 years ago! Joyce wrote Finnegan's wake in the 20th century, but did it really change anything?
Pluto is a figment of the modernist imagination, its stint as a planet coincides nicely with the span of what we consider modernism. There was no post modernism for literature.
When alphanumeric language becomes digital, text becomes material material. The demonstration of dumping text into images and altering them is impressive. Code is language. All media is now created from "words." This was not true back when Pluto was a planet.
Words aren't used in digital world to convey emotion, but more as a brick. Digitized language is more fluid and multi-useful than pre-digital language. The web is a writing machine. Most of that is machines talking to other machines.
The internet of things will bring more machines online than humans. This will be another data explosion on the web. Armies of refrigeraors and dishwashers are steps away from literary production readable only be other machines. Invisible to human eyes and bypassing humans all together. Robopoetics. (Literary Future, Books).
Why not start writing drone poetry for our future robot overlords now?
On the web, text is not read. It is skimmed, archived, liked, shared... Archiving is digital quilting. It is folk art. Collecting is creating. Writing on an electronic platform is inseparable from archiving.
The mp3 requires everyone to become a librarian. Copying, organizing, backing up. Listening to music has become exhausting.
The writer is producer, editor, publisher and distributor. The whirr of a hard drive is the palpable evidence of the creation of literature.
The discovery and re-distribution of an object is more important now than the object itself (This is starting to make me feel guilty now!) The new writing is pointing.
He tells us about downloading Schwarz's document cache from the pirate bay. The documents are a mess, poorly scanned, useless old old science papers. So what was Schwarz doing, really? The act of moving the information is more important than the content. He lacked the filtering. Why?
In the future, the best writers will be the best filterers.
Some examples of the new writing. Conceptual, uncreative writing. Automated writing. Taking Oulipo farther with the natural tools of the digital reality. "This is all done by hand, it is very beautiful" says Goldsmith of a piece he is showing. But how funny to have that instinct when standing before us to convince us of the beauty of the future of digital automated literature.
A lot of these are available as print on demand books. Interesting that the printing part seems to be important. Why would that be so?
What is wrong with creative writing? Research into the Booker prize. In 2011 the 6 shortlisted books were not very creative. We don't think of them as uncreative or plagiarized, even though they are undeniably derivative. Half of them have the surprise arrival of a letter as an element. Four of 6 have a murder in them. The exact same description for one of these coming of age novels was used to describe exactly tons of other previous coming of age stories. What is original and what is creative? There is more creativity in non literature than in literature.
Maybe the best authors of the future will be programmers of language.
Finally managed to get out to the HKW and am ready to listen to my first panel of the festival.
Moderator Rose White
With: Francesco WARBEAR Macarone Palmieri Staphanie Rothenberg Jeff Crouse Isaac Leung
Stephanie and Jeff will perform as part of the Laborors of Love.
Stephanie Rothenberg's presentation: There were 97 billion dollars in porn revenue in 2006 but the porn industry has gone into a major decline since then. 4cam, YouPorn, etc even regualr social media is used by sex workers to promote their work. Porn is looking for a new business model. Jeff and Stephanie had a sweatshop in real life and in second life. The virtual sweatshop made real Double Happpiness brand jeans. More info behind this link. Another new business model starting up at the same time was the Mechanical Turk by Amazon. HIT=Human Intelligence task, which is the Amazon terminology. Artificial artificial intelligence is when something looks automated but is not. Labors of love--why not stimulate the economy while stimulating yourself?
Presentation by Jeff Crouse The Labors of Love site is launching here at the festival. This is an interface for sending your sexual fantasies to Mechanical Turk for the making of videos. So, mechanical turk workers find videos and the site automatically montages them together. You can then see a map of where people are looking at your request and the status of it. The whole process takes 40-60 minutes. They are interested in what kind of creative license the Mechanical Turk worker takes. Mechanical Turk has a ten-minute limit for completing a task. (This moderator says um a lot.)
Francesco too many names presentation This is a hip dude. Pluto is a queer entity. It's identity makes us uncomfortable. How do we know that Pluto wants to be identified? Barbara Degenevieve did "the hot bods of queer porn." Her manifesto goes like so: Porn is made to get people off. This requires objectification. Embrace the need to fetishize and be fetishized. What is netporn? by Katrien Jacobs is a media studies professor and netporn conference organizer. Netporn is defined as an interzone. Altporn. DIY ethics. Alternative channesl, etc. An authenitc body is uncontrolled, unprofessional, etc. Real Core--Sergio Messina. Real Core was born in photo-based discussion groups in the early 90s. Happy, authentic porn. Mostly at home, mostly normal people in normal life. The feeling of trespassing into someone's privacy is part of the thrill. But really, authenticity is a product. Authenticity is fake.
Isaac Leung presentation Isaac researched sex machines. He showed an interview with an artist whose name I didn't catch. "Americans are inventors..." of fucking machines. He looked at three kinds of machines. Garage culture fucking machines is one kind. Many of them are not even used, the pleasure is a lot in the building of it. Second type is Teledildonics, which is a mediated sex via phone and internet. Often takes more than one real human. For example, connecting a dido to a videogame controller, Thrill Hammer, Sex Machine Cams, essage, oh my bot. Third type = sex robots. First Androids in Nuremberg makes complicated sex robots.
PLEASURE VS DISCIPLINE Michel Foucoult Chastity devices have evolved into sex toys.