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Noted – delving into the digital stream

March 19, 2015

If the internet has an arse hole, and by all reports it does, someone did a fucked up job wiping it. There’s shit everywhere.

On the other hand, if the internet has a pure mountain spring source, it trickles down to everyone, no matter how dearly some would like to be the only ones bottling it. No catchment system has yet been able to stop overflow, or get the water to people without leaving some trace imperfection in the liquid such that people will never look elsewhere for their drop of choice.

What do you use the internet for?

Checking emails, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. Sure.

Banking, Skyping, reading the headlines, checking op-eds on The Guardian, Salon, Mamamia. I fucking hope not in the latter case.

Grocery shopping, maybe. Pornography, of course.

All up, how many words do you read – per day, in a week, over a year? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? And what’s the biggest portion? News, personal essays, short stories, tweets?

Now images. What do you look at? Dresses, frocks, shirts, life hacks, paintings, photos of other people, photos of yourself, of dogs, babies, astral phenomena, places you’ll never go.

Naked people. Or people at the beach, in their swimsuits, which is more acceptable, though deep down you know why you’re there. Not that deep down.

How many images, all up? Or even just in a day?

How many strangers’ arse holes have you seen?

Now what are they telling you, the words and images together? This is news. This would look good on you. This is moving. This is art. Look at this idiot. You’re not this brave.

Like this. Be glad this wasn’t you. This is beautiful. You’re not beautiful. You’re the most beautiful person in the world.

These people are having fun because [product]. Cum.

This person climbed a mountain and didn’t have the mental stamina to devote what they saw to memory, but they did hold a camera at arm’s length, and push a button, and make it the first thing you see when you type in their name. This person wants you to believe that this projection defines them as much as they wish it did.

What we’re doing with the internet during our writers festival could be shit, or it could be simple and pure. We don’t know yet. It’s likely to be somewhere between the two.

People rarely create art, writing inclusive, that doesn’t stink of their last meal. On the other hand, there’s often pure intent there too – in the emotion, the thought or both.

What our digital events won’t be is familiar, and that’s something.

An art exhibition in an ouroboros of web pages.

A character on Twitter whose story is decided by people who are probably going to troll him to death.

Other shit. A bunch of other shit.

Hopefully these combinations of words and images are novel to you. Hopefully better than that. Let’s aim for revelatory. Why not?

Come and get Noted. We say that.

Ashley Thomson, Noted Festival