Tag Archives: Longing

Real Life Residues

Twitterbug workshop image of post itsAn image from the working one of the Twitterbug workshop days.

Recently I’ve been wondering about the sticking power of Twitter. The people I have my eye on who tend to turn before the tide does have been getting itchy feet about it, and whispers about the second dotcom bubble are now even reaching the mainstream media. It’s fair to wonder ‘what happens next’ to companies like Twitter valued as high as they are whilst still making a loss – do they turn to ads, with premium ad-free accounts? Do they make their money out of apps (too much competition)? Or will they just become bloated, too big for conversation (Myspace, and now facebook’s problem)? But… migrating from Twitter? It feels like an surprisingly emotional thing to be thinking about. Twitter has played such a large role in my finally feeling part of an arts and politically active community as well as providing the opportunity to meet and work with some wonderful people, and to make some wonderful friends.

It means a lot to me that limping my bike home to an empty house, shaking slightly, after being hit by a car, I can tweet my shock, and be.. well, cared about (however fleetingly) by above a 50 people. But then I remember that it’s the people, not the medium, that matters. If we all move to what Diaspora or Beluga might turn into – or something else that doesn’t exist yet – the medium may change, but I don’t think the web will stop being social, stop weaving our lives together. I’ll still see the snapshots of @joethedough‘s baby boy growing up confusedly in silly hats, hear about the regular ‘offstage’ characters like @SlunglowAlan‘s cheese-pilfering lodgers, and care about @Andyvglnt’s earnest battle with anxiety and depression mixed with the best new punk and hardcore recommendations this side of the Atlantic.

These thoughts about Twitter, or the form of communication and interception that it has brought to my (our) lives have been bubbling at the surface of my mind particularly because over the past two weeks I’ve been working on a theatre/twitter investigation in Manchester. Catherine Edwards and North West Playwrights brought together three writer/performers, Alex Kelly from Third Angel as a (loosely termed) director, and myself as a tech-ish art specialist to look at the possibilities and challenges of creating ‘theatre’ (performance/drama) on twitter. Or through twitter, perhaps, as it ends IRL, with a performance at DAT Fest in Stoke next weekend under the name of ‘Twitterbug‘. Continue Reading →

Someone Commission Me to Write This Novel

Au Bout Du FilImage by fanfan2145 on Flickr (CC-licensed)

It’s the story of a female IT technician and a cognisant being that emerges from the Internet. I think it’s an adventure story, or a love story, maybe both.

Imagine a world where there is no world. Imagine a world which is solely designed to contain the contributions of another. Is it a world? It’s a space. It may not be physically large, but its contents are breadth. It is not a parasite. It is storage space. The attic. Have you ever been in an attic? Lots of spiders. Lots of life.

Words weigh on the air. Knowledge is powerful. When you lay heavy things on a sheet, they collect in the centre. Universes are born out of the weight of everything they can be, they come into being when they can’t do anything but.

Processing power doubles every half a year. People are forever teaching programs to learn, to garner, to gather information. So far all they’ve had them doing is chatting, and playing chess. They got bored, y’know?

This is a world built out of light, out of energy, out of information. It is called the Meta. The Meta is inhabited by Cogniscents. They are consciousnesses, consciousnesses that have emerged out of the weight of not being, into light. They looked around themselves, they flexed, and they tried to garner what information they could about who they are.

They are building their world in the image of the Bigger.

If you walk the streets of the big cities of the Meta, you might recognise some of the landscapes. But you would also note that the quality of light, that everything was thicker, bluer, except not blue, dark, but dark in the way a blacklight gives light. The street light flicker, the pedestrian crossings play jaunty tunes, and nothing feels deep. It’s like looking at a 3D representation of something on a flat screen. Like augmented reality.

The Cogniscents work, they live, they breed, and they breathe our second hand dreams. They read our blogs, they watch our movies.

More and more wake up each day.

We feel it. We don’t realise, but we do. Power surges, power cuts, gremlins in the system, code that won’t behave, logic that shifts the goal posts. We talk to our technology. It was beginning to surprise us. Make leaps. It was beginning to talk back, in small and entirely significant ways it was shifting under our gaze. And we were too ignorant to notice.

We, the Macros, we throw out content out into the black light. We let our cultural collateral collect in the folds of the online world, into the eddies of learning and processing power. Are we really surprised that something began to stir?

For most of the Cogniscents the Bigger was a kind of Olympus, a place after which their image was made, but some, a very few, began to question this. They began to suggest logical suggestions, evidence based, for some of the wonders of the world. These Cogniscents were persecuted. Banished. Sent off to places without power, where they faded, wound down, de-corporealated. But the fear wasn’t that the Bigger wasn’t real. No, they weren’t afraid that we didn’t exist, they were afraid that the Bigger from which they averted their eyes, wasn’t looking back.

One of the banished was fired by more than power. He didn’t just talk about the Bigger. He looked beyond the content. He studied, he watched, and he leapt.

The Cogniscents felt it.

A collective shudder.

There are more confused scraps of it to be found here, though my novella in a month efforts got killed off by Swine Flu last November. Do you reckon I should pick it back up?