The Final Product

A piece written as the result of this experiment:

Listen to the Audioboo here

Let me know what you think! (RE product as well as process). It was a really, really interesting collaborative process, and the final product is by no means polished. But that’s not the point, is it :)

And the text:

I grew up here. But I don’t recognise it. It changes the land, the rain. After a while you just don’t see it.

I don’t know where all the water comes from. It’s like money, y’know, no one ever explained to me how there could be more in one place, and not use it up somewhere else.

Ice I spose. Like banks.

I wish you could see the sky.

It’s like darkness. Fuller than the sea. And warm. I don’t like that. It grates. The salt makes your face feel like its burning.

I lost you.

That’s a stupid way to say something, it’s not like a map would have been useful.

You died.

And I can smell you on my hair. You grabbed hold of it and you pulled me out of the water. Screaming past. Pushed me on top of the car. The red metal. It were slippery.

Very Titanic.

Do you remember that film?

I walked here. Everyone were walking in the opposite direction. I don’t know how many people I passed. The stones clinked on the path. People had used all of their words up. Wasted them shouting, saying ‘evacuation were ridiculous’ to committees of nervous looking councillors. There were always this feeling that somehow we’d be able to make it not true if we shouted loud enough.

And now they’re all the same – just a white sea of eyes walking past. Brown to me – your brown eyes. The way they, when you laughed. You look out of every face I see, but I know they’re not you, because they’re not laughing. And it’s not just you – because I know, I know now, you don’t realise. But we’re all connected. It sounds like hippy crap, but when you actually see people, when you actually see them, and this much, hurt, you feel it. You know we were always connected. Our breath. But now you breathe, and it doesn’t feel like you have. The air’s so wet.

I’ve given up on staying dry.

I’ve given up.

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3 Responses to “The Final Product”

  1. linda nicklin August 2, 2009 at 7:36 am #

    remarkable , Hannah. Even more so because I can hear the echoes in your voice of the women in my family

  2. Andrew Eglinton August 2, 2009 at 11:03 am #

    I very much liked the delivery of this piece, the pacing, the tone, the vernacular. You’ve achieved a fair amount in a short space of time. Thanks, in part, to social media, you’ve made new acquaintances, ingested an array of creative material, and you took the time to think and write.

    It was interesting to see how far you departed from the source material. An attempt at addressing or encompassing that material head on given the time frame would have been at best superficial. Instead you opted for inference and association, and I think the piece is all the better for that.

    One of the questions I’m left with is how could you develop and structure this experiment further, so that rather than fragments, you find yourself tackling a longer narrative?

    Also, what changes would you make in hindsight to the remit of the experiment? Would you opt for a more detailed and targeted response? Perhaps even dictating a single medium (e.g. photos only)?

    What did you take away from this?

  3. Hannah Nicklin August 2, 2009 at 1:44 pm #

    Hi Andrew, thanks for your feedback. It was a really interesting experience which I thought was important to try, as I shouldn’t advocate the use of new media, without working with them myself. I was surprised how exposing the process felt. Without the chance to stand back from my work for even an hour I had no way of judging the quality of what I was putting out there, in a way you have to let go of a good degree of polish in order for the value of the instant-collaborative experience to emerge. I found myself approaching the writing imagery-first, which is a very odd direction, and I think changed the strongly-structural aspect that is normally present in my work. I started working more as a curator than a composer – but as I worked it into a stand-alone piece, I felt the distance to the collaborators more fiercely – I felt more alone in the writing than I normally would have done. If that makes sense. And now, I still feel uncomfortable with the quality of the work, which feels quite… ‘airy’.

    I think to develop this kind of idea further you’d have to think about your final format more. If you were writing a play, you’d have to look at crowd sourcing the components as you’d build them – IE submissions to build a story, submissions for character work, submissions for theme or conflicts. I think the next step in the experiment would be to request only pictures (or video, or music etc) and write a more sustained piece, see how that plays out. There’s also the option of putting the script out there in google docs, and inviting other people to edit it, and also the option of building something more organic around a single theme, an installation of pieces created by hundreds of people. That would be the truest expression of a crowd-sourced piece of art (and something that’s bubbling away in my mind to be blogged on this month…)

    I think what I took away from it (aside from the stress, it was quite stressful – as soon as other people put things important to them into it you have a responsibility to them) was understanding that it does feel genuinely artistically risky, in a way I’ve not felt before as a writer, to put your process out there. But I think that risk could and should be exciting. And I think open-source art is important to arts continued relevance, to bring it down off its pedestal, and to open it up to new generations’ way of thinking.

    Y’see I still feel like I’m talking very cloudily!

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