Research Critique: The World’s Longest Drunk Sentence

Throughout this work of Douglas Davis, the scroll wheel on my mouse worked particularly hard. Good job scroll wheel, good job.

I really like the ending for me in The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence as I’m unable to click the next page due to the black screen at the end(not sure why), the font size just gets bigger and bigger and it goes from readable text to graphical image flashing on the screen.

The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence is an art which is really similar to the Hole In Space as the main gist of both the artworks was to create a platform for people to interact with each other and when they do, the participant/viewers of the platform became the performer which prompt more participant/viewers to response hence having the number of participant/viewers/performer to grow exponentially. The only difference was the medium- Hole In Space was the communication through video call while The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence was the communication through texts.

In this essay, I will focus more on the medium rather than the content even when there are many interesting quote that I really liked, the contents are not a good instrument to analyse this wonderful piece (It’s like quoting a few conversation in Hole in space and say the Hole In Space is good because of it.) As the phrase “The Medium Is the Message” Contrived by Marshall McLuhan in his book Understanding Media: The Extension of Man(1964), the characteristic of the medium is as important as the content itself and without one, neither could exist. As McLuhan said –

“content of any medium is always another medium”

and the basis of text is speech, the typist convert their speech into text on the screen by typing, the text then get transmitted to other screens, the reader reads the text and then forming the speech in their brain, text is just one of the medium that transfer thoughts from one person another.

The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence is a medium for the participant to type in any language with only one rule- No Period(which got hacked later). This “No Period” rule made this artwork really interesting, as The Period is to denote the end of the sentence, which serve as the start of a new one. By removing The Period, the boundary that announce who is the author of the sentence got eradicated and hence, even when all of the participants are just writing with much individuality, the piece could only be seen as a huge, shared text like the Microsoft word developed Artificial Intelligence, got drunk and having chatter with itself non-stop, which is what made The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence really fun to read.

It was very stimulating even while participating as only a reader, for a moment, I was thinking “Is this a new writer? oh wait, its the same one as this one” and then without a stop, bombardment of a new thought by another writer. I feel that The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence is a medium that was made to reflect on life, every participant could not control or change what was typed in the past and the future but can make changes to the present if they contributed. It also reflected how human conscious are, the way that all these words are without The Period, the recalcitrant brain and our train of thoughts without a stop button, there is no Period to block the madness going through our mind, sometimes there are beautiful poetry about flower, next there will be poultry scolding vulgar. It is these unpredictability that made The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence as well as our life interesting.


Author: Ong Zi Feng

Just doing things, making stuffs.

2 thoughts on “Research Critique: The World’s Longest Drunk Sentence”

  1. I really like your comment that “Microsoft word developed Artificial Intelligence, got drunk and having chatter with itself non-stop”. I feel that the result would look similar to how The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence will look. I was just wondering if the medium of the input would matter. Will the change of input allow another way of the viwers experiencing it? Probably? I feel that if the machine were to write it out on a paper, the context and experience would change entirely although the input is the same. It would be a tangible and there will be a certain kind of fascination to it. If it was printed on paper and it will keep writing, I think it would be spectacular for viewers to see the sheer length of the paper as compared to the digital form where views only scroll the pages and view. (not alot of impact)

    Overall, I really like how you have thought of the AI perspective of the input and also addressing the medium. It is a remarkable read! Excellent!

  2. Brilliant Wind! Wow, you really got this piece, very impressive. I like your comment about how the writer/reader has no control over what comes before, or what comes after, rather is part of a continuous flow of information. And isn’t that the way we experience media today? In social media, we are constantly super-participating in multi-threaded collective conversations that continue and flow and sometimes never stop. That is the nature of our media consumption, and Douglas Davis understood that in 1994! Also, great comparison to Hole in Space, in which the viewers are also communicating with themselves, and where the content is not about the specific conversation, but rather how the medium functions. In a sense both Douglas Davis and Kit G. and Sherrie R. are social designers, creating works that involve social interaction as the content of the work.

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