Whispering on paper

Christa Joo Hyun D'Angelo @ Itch

George Blecher on the fading pleasures of digital media @ Eurozine.
Last year I was part of a curious show.An artist named Tino Sehgal cleared out all the art in New York's Guggenheim Museum, assembled a group of good talkers, and instructed them to start conversations with the museum's visitors about "progress" – what they thought it was, whether they believed it even existed. I was one of the talkers.One of the ways we approached the subject was to get the visitors thinking about emails, text messages, Facebook. Were they "good", "bad", necessary, unavoidable? Did they represent progress, regression, or just distraction? Their responses were unexpected. Granted that they weren't the usual tourists, or New Yorkers killing an hour before going to the dentist, but many – even the young people – didn't care for electronic communication or "social networks". They felt that the machines were taking up too much of their time and energy; they were addictive rather than helpful. One 15 year-old told me that she was the only kid in her circle who didn't have a cell phone."When I want to communicate with my friend, I write letters.""But don't you and your friend get impatient?""Maybe, but we like the waiting; it makes it more exciting. And the letters are kind of like secrets. Like whispering on paper."Whispering on paper. The phrase came into my head the other day when my second cousin, a mischievous lady of 92, slipped me an announcement that my ex-wife and I had sent her when our daughter was born. Baby is 34 now.read more