A bit of new year carpentry: Ekaw Snagennif

As you may know, I’m engaging in a bit of my practice-research around object-oriented photography and publishing on/in/through Facebook. Using my favourite new camera (the screengrab facility on my phone), I’m ‘taking’ photos of the images in the Haystack, uploading them back into the space (where they JPEG-encoded as visible images). I’m (re)mixing these with OOPh images of material objects connecting and reconnecting in the molten core of objects located in the flat ontological mesh that Harman, Morton, Bryant and Bogost speak of. These works (as well as other non-Facebook practice-research experiments) are my photographic/media/publishing version of what Ian Bogost calls carpentry, crafting things as a philosophical practice. For Bogost that is software, games etc – Cow Clicker being only the most famous. In ‘carpentry’-based practice -research, the artefact is not illustration or even simply source material for philosophical musing or critique. Rather it is the site of that musing or research. In my case, my ‘experiments’, artifacts, works are where I (or anyone else) finds out about the workings of JPEG and distributed imag(in)ing.

Anyway, when I saw that on New Year’s Day 2012 that copyright on James Joyce’s work ended, I decided to carve out another work. Following Ken Goldsmith’s idea of ‘uncreative writing‘ which he explores in his new book (which I’d just finished – of courses as an eText!), I decided to (re)wrte Finnegans Wake on Twitter and Facebook, 140 characters at a time. Because I’m particularly interested in Facebook’s new Timeline, I decided to work with that new time-space and write it backwards. One day I (and you)’ll be able to look at my Timeline (NB not Twitter page because they will have fallen into Twitter’s non-space, although they will be archived/republished here) – and read from “riverrun, past Eve and Af=dam’s, from swerve of shore” and on. A few rules:

  • Each passage must be 140 characters exactly even if that means splitting a word.
  • Each passage must be 140 characters including any space at the beginning or end.
  • Each passage must be copied and pasted from the Web to the Web.

A few initial ‘findings’:

1. One friend on Facebook spotted what I was doing:

But of course to open up the experiment to other ‘writers’, not that I could stop them, would be to reverse the Timeline. Here carpentry/practice-research opens up issues of Facebook’s logic, software objects and reworking of time and space.

2. As the work moves forward (or backward) on Facebook and Twitter, Finnegans Wake (or maybe Finnegans Wake’ [single quote being the Maths symbol for not-negation]), the passages will become entangled with other Facebook/Twitter objects – photos, links, friends’ news etc. Here carpentry/practice-research opens up the object-oriented nature of distributed media and media spaces as well as the sensual/real splits and the vicarious causation apparent as objects connect with other objects within the heart of the Timeline object, the Facebook database objects, the Social Graph object.

I’m interested in how Facebook and Twitter work (and can be used) as publishing as well as research spaces. The best way to explore what Facebook ‘does’ to our ideas of content, stories, images, creativity, media is to use it. The best way to research it as object space is to connects some objects with it and through it. I would argue that carpentry/practice-research opens up more questions, issues, ideas and frameworks – as well, to my mind, demonstrating the power and reach of OOO – than attempting to stand outside (as a Subject rather than object) and figure out the connections, references and allusions… hence my choice of Finnegans Wake.


Another thing I just noticed. When I post a fragment on Facebook or Twitter that has a space at the beginning, the software corrects it for me.

STOP PRESS 13.01.12

Wonderful Pingback on this post. Scraped into site on ‘Carpentry’. You gotta love algorithm’s sense of humour!