STATEMENT ON YEAR|
Kenneth Goldsmith, 2003
Over the past five years, I've become devoted to the practice of non-interventionalist writing: transcription, retyping, copying; moving information from one place to another as a valid writing practice. In the mid-90s, I recall having seen a cartoon of a man, claiming to have transferred x amount of megabytes, physically exhausted after a day of downloading. It made me consider whether the act of simply moving information from one place to another could constitute a physical / cultural act in and of itself. Almost a decade later, I am convinced that it can.
The vast amount of linguistic information surrounding us simply needs to be quantified in order to discover that we are immersed in a sea of poetry. In 1996, I wrote: "If every word spoken daily in New York City were somehow to materialize as a snowflake, each day there would be a blizzard." Today, writing in 2003, I can best restate that sentiment: "If somehow I were able to materialize the data flowing across my home wireless network, the aether I breathe would be rife with sounds and letters."
A recent project of mine, Year, is a transcription of the one-minute weather forecasts on a New York all-news station. Starting December 21, 2002 and continuing exactly one year later, it is a work in four chapters. Each chapter has its distinctive character. The piece itself is a master narrative of a year, a sub-narrative of the four chapters, and several micro-narratives within the chapters. Storms approach from afar; they get closer; they occur; they pass. Weather, that most organic of phenomenon, is framed as a transaction. Quantified, narrativized, and capitalized, the weather either aids or abets our drive time.
In the early part of the last century, F.T. Marinetti wrote a play called "Let's Murder the Moonshine." Prescient as always, Marinetti began a process we continue to complete: the moonshine - and the aether - has been dead for as long as I can remember.