Full Circle (Pre-Interview Decisions): Introducing Diagram Art as Part of Art Direction, Narrativising Techniques, and Episode Planning

7 AUG 2020
NOTE: incomplete citations, will update.

i. Diagram Art

Mark Lombardi: George W. Bush, Harken Energy, and Jackson Stephens, ca. 1979-90

The term “Diagram Art” is not definitively a coined genre of art. Rather, it was a thought that I had conceived upon conceptualising for the art direction of Full Circle. One may colloquialism it as the genre of Infographics, but my understanding of contemporary infographics are much more graphic and abstract than I may find suitable for this project. It is of priority to ground this project in its manifesto, to chase a genre of science fiction that maximises the potential of fiction in retaining its truth value. Scientific diagrams, especially traditional ones, would be a good starting point for developing a style for this format. The intention of a scientific diagram is never to abstract the information it presents, but rather demonstrate as clearly as possible research-based concepts through a visual medium. However, while it is presented in such a manner (Fig. 1- 4), there is a clearly poetic form present within the generative amalgamation of shapes and forms used to make the readers understanding clearer. This generated visual can allow us to reach a softer, more humanistic, more poetic dimension of reading research.

Notable Diagrams

สาระคดี ประวัติศาสตร์ ความเป็นมา เรื่องราวต่างๆ: Figure of the ...

Fig. 1 The Ptolemaic System (Claudius Ptolemy, c. AD 140-150)

Bartolomeu Velbo, a cartographer and cosmographer from Portugal created this diagram to illustrate the Ptolemaic Geocentric System — ‘Figura dos Corpos Celestes’ (Four Heavenly Bodies).

Islamic Science's India Connection - AramcoWorld

Fig. 2 Lunar Eclipse (Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, 1019)

This diagram illustrates the phases of the moon. It was a concept featured in the manuscript of his Kitab al-Tafhim (Book of Instruction on the Principles of the Art of Astrology) by al-Biruni.

Vitruvian Man - Stock Image - C038/5853 - Science Photo Library

Fig. 3 Vitruvian Man (Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1487)

Da Vinci’s diagram of his understanding of a human’s proportions.

File:Copernican heliocentrism theory diagram.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Fig. 4 Heliocentric Universe (Nicolaus Copernicus, 1543)

A simple diagram that demonstrates Copernicus’ theory of the Universe.

Mark Lombardi — Diagrams as Political Art

Mark Lombardi is a conceptual artist that demonstrates diagram in the form of political artworks. He uses information from public documents to create “narrative structures” that form networks in a diagrammatic form (MONEY KILLS). Unlike traditionally informational diagrams, Lombardi’s intention is political and artistic, yet it serves the purpose of informing and provoking. His conceptualist ideas are in line with the founding ideas of Sol Lewitt who believes “The idea itself, even if it is not made visual, is as much of a work of art as any finished product.”. Lombardi was also more interested in the “idea behind the creation”, rather than “the idea itself”.

His artworks are composed of lines drawn in pencil in a precise spirographic manner (Networks of Corruption: The Aesthetics of Mark Lombardi’s Relational Diagrams). They are representative of Lombardi’s research findings on the interactions between political and financial institutions, and their head figures. The political intention behind his art is to “expose” financial corruption through demonstrating “networks of transactions, spheres of influence”. Robert Hobbs’ also mentions that Lombardi’s artwork demonstrate the importance of gathering information, following the intricate research that goes into his diagrams.

Mark Lombardi, World Finance Corporation and Associates, ca. 1970-84 : Miami, Ajman, and Bogota-Caracas (Brigada 2506 : Cuban Anti-Castro Bay of Pigs Veteran) (7th version), 1999. Graphite and coloured pencil on paper, 175.58 x 213.36 cm. Courtesy of Donald Lombardi and Pierogi Gallery (Photo: John Berens).

Useful link: https://www.stevenbaris.com/diagrams-and-art

ii. Narrativising Techniques of Fictionality

The following concepts have been derived from the article “Hybrid Fictionality and Vicarious Narrative Experience” by Mari Hatavara and Jarmila Mildorf. This article focuses on narrativity in fiction and non-fiction, highlighting the signposts of fiction. It is indicated in the following headers where Hatavara and Mildorf had derived these theories.

“Fiction” and “narrative” themselves are asymmetrical in their inclusiveness: while fiction always entails narrative, narrative does not necessarily entail fiction. The process of fictionalization not only involves features of narrativization, such as the inclusion of experientiality, but it is also accompanied by a more or less gradual loss of (perceived) truthfulness. We are of course aware of the fact that in the context of postmodern theorizing it may no longer be safe to talk about, let alone assume, something like “truth” or “truthfulness.” However, while such notions may have been problematized in postmodern cultural theory, they still hold validity in other philosophical pursuits and arguably in many (most?) people’s everyday lives.

Paratextual Signals

Grishakova, Marina. “Literariness, Fictionality, and the Theory of Possible Worlds.” In Narrative, Fictionality, and Literariness: The Narrative Turn and the Study of Literary Fiction, edited by Lars-Åke Skalin, 57–76. Örebro Univ., 2008.

Hatavara and Mildorf describe “paratextual signals or context signals of fictionality” as a mind-representation technique that is used to narrate the story of a nonfictional subject. They may not be classified strictly as a “fictional” narrative, since they are based on nonfictional experiences.

“Their referential framework is still the real world and real people in it, and this is how they will be understood by listeners and readers.”

Representation of thought and consciousness

Zetterberg Gjerlevsen, Simona, and Henrik Skov Nielsen. “Distinguishing Fictionality.” In Factuality and Fictionality: Blurred Borders in Narrations of Identity, edited by Cindie Maagaard, Marianne Wolff Lundholt, and D. Schäbler. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016.

Two situations relating a narrative to a personal thought or consciousness were highlight in the article by Hatavara and Mildorf. They are third-person narratives that involve “internalised focalisation” or “verbs of consciousness”, and “forms which mix two discursive subjects” (Herman, David. Basic Concepts of Narrative. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.).

Dissociation of the author and the narrator

Nielsen, Henrik Skov, James Phelan, and Richard Walsh. “Ten Theses about Fictionality.” Narrative 23.1 (2015): 61–73.

Monika Fludernik’s, followed by Neal Norrick’s, described the use of third-person narration in nonfiction as “narratives of vicarious experience.” Traditionally, it had been the standard to use first-person narratives in nonfiction, as facts that have been experienced by the narrator himself, rather than descriptive of another person’s experience.

iii. Full Circle // Episodes

These episodes will be focused on building a narrative for the Moon, using only theories of scientific/research nature. Their goal is to paint a factually guided picture of the Moon, but paratextually demonstrating the philosophy and poetics behind this body of scientific study. The three episodes — “Gravity”, “Rhythm”, “Light and Darkness” — are some of the main characteristics of the Moon in relation to its relationship with Earth. These characteristics are also some of the founding principles of existence and human life. In another sense, this amalgamation of topics will personify the Moon in a ‘character’ role and vicariously communicate the narrative consciousness through this third-person ‘voice’.

(Side note: ‘Philosophy of Science’ — Science is not necessarily truth. The nature of reality may be metaphysical, and we may want to take into account the ‘actuality’ of things we observe since science cannot prove what is unobservable.)

Focus: How the Moon Keeps Us Alive

This focus has been chosen because of its familiarity and harsh factuality. It will serve as a good base to demonstrate the new narrative structure.

Expected duration of each episode: 8-12min each

Episode 1: Gravity

— Stabilising Effect

— Protection Role

— Time (Segue into next theme)

Episode 2: Rhythm

— Tides

— Seasons

— Phases (Segue into next theme)

Episode  3: Light and Darkness

— Daytime, Nighttime

— Creation and Destruction

— Lunar Eclipse

Narrative Structure

I will use Waltz with Bashir as a starting point for the narrative structure for this format. The reason for this is the debatable genre of Waltz with Bashir as it actively dabbles between the consciousness of the director and protagonist Ari Folman, interviews with nonfiction subjects recounting their war experiences, while sometimes suggesting a world of fiction and fantasy. However, there will be elements of such a narrative structure that will not fit in with the interests of Full Circle, since Waltz with Bashir has much more paratext and consciousness than scientific studies such as the Moon. Waltz with Bashir involves much more psycho-socio influences, such as trauma and amnesia, all while told through the first-person perspective of a perpetrator.

Waltz with Bashir’s story arc less steep than would a traditional story arc (Exposition – Rising Action — Climax — Falling Action — Conclusion). Rather, it takes a slow boiling approach of a steadily increasing rising action, and cathartic release at the end. The docu-animation unravels with interviews with the perpetrators as the collectively recover from traumatic amnesia, and the protagonist, Ari Folman, gains an obscured piece of information each time he talks to someone new. The big picture can only be made sense of towards the end of the film, where the audience finally understands the source of Folman’s trauma as they vicariously piece together snippets of his war memories.

Full Circle will take also be making use of interviews with ‘non-fiction’ third-person narrators’ (experts on subject), and adopt a slow-boiling unraveling narrative that ends with a ‘big picture’ conclusion. The said “episodes” and topics have already been arranged in a manner that will facilitate this narrative structure.

The Moon will take the role of what resembles a protagonist in this docu-animation, while the experts act as third-person narrators on behalf of this character. It should seem as though they are directing the narrative of the Moon. The world in which this moon will be based in should consist largely of diagrammatic elements that amalgamate to form a fantastical universe to accompany these experts’ information (but not negate its ‘truth’).


Make poster of project explainer to send to interviewees


I bought a synthesizer to create the sounds reminiscent of the examples in the previous update (Fantastic Planet, Apollo 13, etc.). The following is a test I did with my new synthesizer. The animation was done in after effects, live looped in GarageBand.

Artist Selection | Blast Theory

My artist choice is Blast Theory whose work is a fusion of interactive media, digital broadcasting and live performance. They describe themselves on their website as “a pioneering artist group creating interactive art to explore social and political questions, placing audience members at the centre of our work”.

I would like to explore the reactions and phenomena that are invoked through their social media and interactive works.

Kidnap is my favourite interactive performance art piece from Blast Theory. It is a piece that is provoked by the insurgence of lottery culture and the obsession of how one’s life could be changed through a singular act. The blurb of this piece according to the Blast Theory is simply that “the winners of a lottery get kidnapped”. And the performance is exactly that — participants who pay £10 to get kidnapped, whereby ten participants were chosen, and two winners were “snatched in broad daylight to a secret location”.

B A Z ______________ G

B A Z ____ G is an urban local bag modelled after the traditional Chinese rice dumpling (better known as Bazhang). The pyramid structure is made of a slightly malleable plastic sheet wrapped in grey speckled cotton. The strings are wrapped strategically around the structure to imitate the defining rattan of an actual Bazhang, which then segues into a strap.

The bag is meant for casual carry, with the holding capacity for daily necessities such as your phone, wallet, a kindle, or some dumplings. The heavily padded interior makes for good protection to your valuables, making the bag thief-proof and shock-proof. The insulated layers can also keep your dumplings warm.

More importantly, there is an apparent aesthetic and sentimental value to having it shaped to a Bazhang. This interpretation is personal and varies greatly from person to person, though my approach is slightly warm and nostalgic.

Not compromising the functionality of the bag, the straps are completely adjustable and customisable. The bag acts as a handbag, sling bag, backpack , or carry, depending on how the straps are arranged and worn. Their lengths can also be easily adjusted to suit the physique of the user.

On one surface, the bag opens up diagonally to a single compartment for simple everyday on-the-go storage.

The strings have been tied in complexly neat knots that give it an urban industrial reference. Textures of the bag are also mostly linear to bring out a sense of geometrical harmony. The colour scheme is grey and blue, which liberates it from the traditional green and pink scheme of an actual Bazhang, and therefore allowing a modern finish.

The Profound Art of Networked Practice

Networked practice is indisputably one of the most revolutionary media in art to date. The engagement of social media has assimilated into the daily, who is to say how far it has burgeoned as a lifestyle, let alone an artistic media. What seems important to me is that we understand the blurred lines between the art, the philosophy, the science, the life in network practice. This contemporary world is highly homogenised, and our biggest development is probably the ability to work around distance and difference, creating a tolerance through our sense of proximity and similarity. That is my personal sentiment.

Dr Maria Chatzichristodoulou (Maria X) spoke about telematic practice at the Art of the Networked Practice Online Symposium on 29 March 2018. She is the Associate Professor in Performance and New Media at London South Bank University (LSBU), and has also worked as a curator, producer, performer, writer and community organiser.

She cites James Baldwin, an American Philosopher, for having put out a favourable definition of telematic practice. He refers to it as “the relation between two or more relatively independent things or systems that hinder, limit or otherwise affect one another”, which Maria X finds interesting for its light on the “interpersonal potential of telematic performances”.

Maria X believes that “telematic performances, like all performances, are about relationships between systems and people”, and “through those interactions they affect others and are affected by others”. I second that, the potential of network practice lies loosely in the interpersonal relationship, but sharply on how the being and the media effect on each other.

“and that is the difference between live performance and recorded performance.”

The prime takeaway form this symposium was, from my personal objective, the difference between live and recorded performance. Maria X mentioned that “unlike other screen practices, telematic performances transform the screen or a projection surface to the place of a live encounter.”

Perhaps, it could also be said that in this metaphysical bandwidth, networked media is a vehicle, transportation for not just distanced communication but also emotional proximity and even physical experience.

“In that sense, the projected image on screen, together with the live performance, become space-time continuum. They connect the audience and performers across geographical boundaries.”

I thought it was apt that Maria X referred to the act of networked practice as a “space-time continuum”. And as we explored the spacial aggregation of networked media, the definitive term of “time continuum” perplexed me. Had time also been aggregated through this practice? Something Maria X said had helped put my thoughts in perspective. She mentioned that live performances were a “perpetual disappearance of their own enactment. On the other hand, their equal dependance on recording technologies mean that those performances intentionally or unintentionally leak traces, which means they self-document.”

The self-documenting and self-augmenting nature of the telematic performances are what makes the performance candid and affecting in live time, a real experience. And to me it is perhaps what makes it a revolutionary media for performance art and philosophy and living.

An example of unconventional telematic performance, as cited by Maria X, was Blast Theory whose work is a fusion of interactive media, digital broadcasting and live performance. She referred to them as an artistic group that does not “develop telematic works in the old sense over a screen”. Lucky for me, Matt Adams of Blast Theory was scheduled to speak the next day.

Matt Adams is a believer of the utopian possibility to create social relationships over the internet. His works provoke and are provoked by the idea of private ownership and profit as the “dominant mean in the landscape” of networked practice. “The idea of connecting people remotely seems rather quaint to me as an idea that it is in and on itself full of possibilities of social forms.”

What really captivated me was Matt Adams ability to see through the selfish utility of networked media and realise the overwhelmingly under-explored potential of the form. His idea of open source is one that can truly be accessed by all, as he described, a “utopia” of some sort where information and research may burgeon through this shared space.

“There is a kind of utopian sense of possibility. The very act of connecting people is itself a radical question and it creates new social relationships. It’s a new form of possibility and I don’t have any answers to this, but my question is where exactly did we make the profound mistake that have brought us to the place that we are today, because those dreams as far as I’m concerned have rarely been delivered on, and when they have been delivered on the commons that have been created have entirely been privatised.”

My stand on this issue is that the idea of privatising a shared intelligence is another intrinsic result of selfish human nature, our want to possess and need to create some sort of hierarchy so that we grow individually and not as a collective species. Perhaps, networked media and its collective nature is what will liberate us from our selfish retardation from the development we would have reached if we would just ‘do it with others’. But the gist of Matt Adams philosophy is that “this is what has happened to our internet”, and his works explore that notion in more ways than one.

Kidnap (1998) by Blast Theory

Kidnap is an interactive performance art piece that is provoked by the insurgence of lottery culture and the obsession of how one’s life could be changed through a singular act. The blurb of this piece according to the Blast Theory is simply that “the winners of a lottery get kidnapped”. And the performance is exactly that — participants who pay £10 to get kidnapped, whereby ten participants were chosen, and two winners were “snatched in broad daylight to a secret location”.

According to Matt Adams, the Spanner Case was a major inspiration for this piece. In this case, a group of gay sadomasochists were apprehended by the police upon finding VHS tapes of them engaging in hardcore sexual activity.

The case escalated to an international concern as a precedent case, which is a major basis of judicial passing in Wales. What actually concerned them was the verdict that by consenting to sadomasochists acts is equivalent to no defence. And therefore, being sentenced to acts of self-mutilation, became a precedent to the legality of body modification, tattoos, piercings. How blood was drawn from your body was now something that you could not consent to, and that the state had the right to interfere.

Matt Adams also highlighted that “the interest in power and power relationships” was another thread at the heart of this piece. The work explored how “power flows between people, between an audience and a set of performers”.

My favourite part of Kidnap is probably its ability to transfer the creative courage and power from the artist to the performer to the audience. It is this salience that creates an unstageable act of artistic research, a candid experience not just for those who participate in it, but also for those who watch it.

“We were fascinated to try and foreground the ways in which we experience power and play with power. Sadomasochism being a prime example in and of itself, since it is fascinating in performative terms.

It is the pretending of something with sufficient fidelity and force to become real in some way. You are acting out some set of power relationship, one person takes a dominant role in general, and one person is taking up a submissive role. Those two people are both pretending, and yet the line between pretence and reality is very hard to untangle. that in itself poses very difficult questions about what power means.”

Angry Women and their Entanglement

Annie Abraham’s Angry Women is a piece hosted on webcam. The webcam acts as a facilitator for the women’s anger. The purpose of this artwork is to make a stand on female anger through angry discussions on the internet. Five performances were carried out with a full womans panel. Another had only men and the other two mixed with female. They also carried out private webcam meetings to reflect on and analyse the performance.

“We all have one subject, in fact. Mine is communication and the difficulty to communicate at all. Everything I do is around that.”

– Annie Abrahams

By using anger as a premise for this performance, remote communication that is through webcam becomes a method of disentanglement for the grievances of the participants.

 “In the beginning I had difficulties accepting these videoarchives because I saw how much they depended on our hazardous trying to interact, to be present in this universe of alone togetherness. Besides I didn’t like my own presence. As in other web performances I felt trapped and revealed myself not as I would have liked to be revealed.”

– Annie Abrahams

Annie believes that communicating in a grid works on the concept of “No Exit”. Having to be present in that small digital space, being isolated in togetherness gives her the sense of entrapment. I find this quite interesting because the act of talking through grievance in this artwork seems like a liberating concept.

“She clearly understands the inherent issues of bandwidth, distance, separation, and even alienation that occurs online. In fact, in many ways she embraces these issues and incorporates them into the vocabulary of her work.”

– Randall Packer on Annie Abrahams

The idea of alienation occurring as a result of bandwidth, disruption when communicating through the third space, is one that is prevalent yet easily overlooked by many – myself included. Through this concept of disruption and bandwidth, we may be able to explore the disentanglement of our real world problems within our curated utopia.

Facebook and Reality

Many of our Facebook actions are like this. They might seem to mean nothing, and yet be taken to mean something. They might seem to mean something, and in fact mean something else

A Reply to facebook Critics
D.E. Wittkower

Facebook has almost become the holy grail in which we document our lives. We are documenting our reality through posts comprising of textual commentary, photographs – sometimes augmented – and all things framed to our liking. By this theory, by the logic of such an act, our Facebook personas can show our reality. But how realistic is this framed reality? Do our posts really mean anything?

My personal belief is slanted towards the idea that our Facebook personas are curations of our lives. Though there have been many talks of the falseness in such propagated realities, I believe there is a reality in curation. Much like an exhibition, these posts are framed and created with personal intention, our ideal representation. These posts are there for a reason.

As the Existentialists argued, my life-choices mean something to me, in large part, because I have chosen them as my own. And so too, my Facebook means something to me, in large part, because I have shared certain kinds of links, taken certain quizzes, and played certain games—and because my friends (who I have chosen) themselves have chosen to do and share what they have chosen to do and share. And I don’t mean this just in the trivial sense that, of course, each of our Feeds are made up of a unique set of different user-generated content.

A Reply to facebook Critics
D.E. Wittkower

How far can we push this representation of our reality? What if we do not frame our posts, but come transparent with the fine details of our lives?

This can be explored in Hasan Elahi’s Tracking Transience 2.0 (2003). In this work of self-surveillance, Elahi publishes his every move online. This act came about he was detained by authorities during one of his travels by bias of his ethnicity, and told that he was going to be ‘watched very closely’. Thus, he began watching himself very closely.

On his website, we see detailed timestamps and unquestionably raw photographs of everyday acts such as toilet trips, uninteresting meals and grocery shopping. There is even a live feed of his exact location.

Elahi uses this extremity of a public transparency rather ironically. He believes that he could do a better job than anyone to execute surveillance on himself through means of such publication. However, by framing his life in such an extreme manner, putting out data of his every move as curated online, he creates a camouflage. It is an unquestionable data that forms a camouflage of reality. The amount of dedication, sacrifice and effort he has put into this work, even giving up a large chunk of his life, is captivating and powerful as a statement and an anti-art.

Media Burn and the Art of Destruction

Ant Farm, an avant garde video arts group founded in 1968 by Chip Lord and Doug Hall, is now a highly acknowledged collective of creatives that embrace the art of destruction (according to Patricia Mellencamp in her Journal of Film and Video).

EAI, Media Burn (https://www.eai.org/titles/media-burn)

One of the collective’s destructive artworks titled Media Burn (1975) is a performance that touches on the representative nature of the media. The artwork consists of crashing a “Phantom Dream Car” (a modified convertible) through a pyramid of televisions.

Doug Hall plays John F. Kennedy in this piece, whereby he touched on the flaws of media in society: ‘What has gone wrong with America is not a random visitation of fate. It is the result of forces that have assumed control of the American system…These forces are: militarism, monopoly, and the mass media…Mass media monopolies control people by their control of information… And who can deny that we are nation addicted to television and the constant flow of media? And not a few of us are frustrated by this addiction. Now I ask you, my fellow Americans: Haven’t you ever wanted to put your foot through your television screen?’

This is relevant to the notions of the hypodermic needle theory in the mass media, a controversial topic left helpless for decades. The ability of the media to inject ideas in to the viewer’s head, its ability to make ideas portrayed seem like the truth is one concept that is played out in this piece.

Chip Lord mentioned in an interview with Randall Packer that the televised image of John F. Kennedy as the first televised tragedy was one of impact and epiphany, since it was one of the first televised image of the bad side of reality. This inspired his work and heavy sentiments towards this side of the media. The destruction of the televisions is acts as a kind of anti-art, a protest. The destruction of a concept can be seen as a rebellious statement, and could perhaps be one of the defining characteristics in such a piece. It is a powerful way to show the anti motion against the lack of media literacy.


Do It With Others and Experimental Interaction

Do It With Others (DIWO) is a variation on Do It Yourself (DIY) where activity is now shared through participatory media.

In this approach, peers connect and collaborate, creating their own structures, using either digital networks or shared physical environments, making an art that is both made and distributed across a network.

Do It With Others (DIWO): Participatory Media in the Furtherfield Neighbourhood, Ruth Cathlow and Marc Garrett, Furtherfield

DIWO is practiced in Furtherfield, where the focus is now drawn on collaborative effort through emerging social technologies. In art, the role of the artist and the spectator is blurred. Those who come as audience usually play a part in influencing the outcome of the artwork, while the artist lift his own directive authority on the piece. A commonly known example of this is Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece, whereby Yoko stays completely still and allows the audience member to curate how her clothes are cut.

In this Experimental Interaction module, we explore the concept of DIWO through micro-projects.

Our fourth micro-project titled “The Collective Body” is a feed of our body parts combined on a Flickr group to create what is a metaphysically diversified body. The technology of a Flickr group feed enables us to each contribute to the composition of this piece through our personalised frames and augmentations on our photos.

Another micro-project that works on DIWO is our first micro-project, whereby we stream on Facebook Live concurrently as we walk through our school. The streams are the aggregated onto a wall in a grid. The collaborative stream of events creates a metaphysical collage of space and time, moments we experienced together.

DIWO means exploring the potential to share visions, resources and agency, through collaboration and negotiation, across physical and virtual networks – maintaining a critical consciousness and hopefully, somehow having a decent life at the same time…

Do It With Others (DIWO): Participatory Media in the Furtherfield Neighbourhood, Ruth Cathlow and Marc Garrett, Furtherfield

DIWO plays an integral part in interactive art since the media is largely dependant on audience activity and collaborative effort. An artwork is deemed interactive when the audience can expect to participate and even play a part in the outcome of the artwork. It could even be said that art is not interactive without DIWO.

DIWO embodies ability to aggregate work in collaborative curation, allowing any person to create art, and this has revolutionised our contemporary art scene.

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.