A Collaborative New Media: The World’s Longest Sentence

The World’s Longest Sentence is an interactive art piece that is enabled by the collaborative contributions of the audience through a website. The site instructs them to “continue the sentence” by submitting material of varying type – including text, image, video and sound.

The audience member is unaware of what precedes in the sentence. I contributed by submitting the phrase “to continue the sentence”. This phrase will then be published at the back of the running sentence on the website.

Generated is a long running, haphazard sentence of all languages and slang. Oddly enough, we are able to make sense of the different fragments contributed, and the stark coincidence in some pieces is compelling to watch.

Narrativity takes on new meaning and form in networked practices, through collaborative, many-tomany systems of writing, media making, and other forms of online expression. In connection with open source thinking, the collective narrative is a sharing and open exchange of conversation, ideas, information, and media that leads to a synthesis of voices: forming a common thread among peers.

Randall Packer, Open Source Studio

The piece is a social media that synthesises the communicative language and thought of a multitude of audiences, creating what seems to be a collage of a narrative. By collapsing our differences as such, and enabling our sentence to tally, the artist has put forth an incessant stream augmented reality; a third space whereby our differentiated thoughts are able to tell the same story. In one read, we are able to experience the narrative from a plethora of physical angles and make sense of them in a metaphysical space of cognition.

The possibilities of peer-to-peer authoring of the collective narrative is now native to our writing tools, such as Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and WordPress, in which multiple authors can coauthor and collaborate on writing projects, often in real time. This dramatically alters the act of writing and narrative, from the singular activity of a very personal form of individual expression, to a collective activity that is highly collaborative: all publishable instantaneously to a global audience.

Randall Packer, Open Source Studio

Much like collaborative online systems such as Google Drive and Google Docs, The World’s Longest Sentence allows for multiple users to co-author a narrative. What differentiates it from such softwares is it’s provision of instruction to allow for live collaboration on a much larger scale. The instructions narrow function as facilitators for the users to move in the same direction when participating in this extensive narrative.

Author: Su Xian

I use big fonts.

One thought on “A Collaborative New Media: The World’s Longest Sentence”

  1. You made an important distinction here between the World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence and our everyday use of Google Docs. The former of course is an artwork, but also, it contains explicit, if open, instructions for user participation and interaction. We see how the artwork in the collective sense becomes a script for an unfolding user experience in the collective artwork. One comment: I’m not sure how this work demonstrates augmented reality, it’s possible, you should elaborate on that, and while I would agree that this is an example of the third space, that too could use some clarification. Otherwise, very good!

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