Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Crapshoot / Silicon Beach Connection (Part 2)

(Part one of this post can be found here.)

In the spirit of my recent theories focused on the net artist as a digital flux persona who composes pseudo-autobiographical fictions in asynchronous realtime, I came up with the following process document for my new web art-app, Crapshoot, now on exhibit at the ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art as part of their Art on Your Screen series of exhibitions:

How does one create an experimental web app that plays with language, poetry, philosophy and impermanence?

Like most artists, I take notes on my iPad, my iPhone and my laptop. I even write and draw with conventional tools like pens, pencils, and paper.

But these days, when I approach the canvas, it's often not a page or a screen. Rather, the "blank page" I initially write many of my poetic words on is the sandy shoreline on Kailua beach in Hawaii where I have my second studio (my primary studio is in Boulder, Colorado).

I use the beach and the hypnotic sound of the waves, as an outdoor studio to both meditate and generate spontaneous texts that I first write on the sand and then, before the waves come and erase the words, capture the word-as-image with my iPhone camera. Once my daily beach ritual ends, I take the digital images back into my indoor studio where I use the digital words and images as source material for various projects.

Here are some images documenting my sand writing process:

My sand writing is spontaneous and is more physical than taking notes on my iPad or jotting down some ideas on my paper notepad. I love generating text in a variety of ways and then remixing that text into different projects across a wide spectrum of media platforms and formats including literary novels, web apps, live A/V performance, net art, poems, theory books, scripts for my feature-length films, or even fictional comedy albums.

Freud once wrote about an object he terms the Mystic Writing Pad. As Freud describes it, The Mystic Writing Pad is "a small contrivance that promises to perform more than the sheet of paper or the slate. It claims to be nothing more than a writing-tablet from which notes can be erased by an easy movement of the hand." He claimed that this Mystic Writing Pad was actually much more than its basic description would suggest and was, in fact, a "perceptual apparatus" where "writing vanishes" but is actually able to retain "permanent traces of what has been written."

When I was growing up, we had a similar device that was called an Etch-A-Sketch. For my intuitive writing process, the sandy beach of Hawaii is the perfect place to experiment with this etch-a-sketch method.

Longer words are hard to write unless it's very low tide:

Sometimes I like to formally imprint the words I improvise on the beach on to actual paper once I get back to my indoor studio:

When you experience Crapshoot as a web app, the idea is that by swiping the screen, you too can watch the writing simultaneously vanish while instantaneously calling into view a new text for you to see and read.


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