Machines for Contortion

Here I go again transforming my analogue self, Kathryn Hummel, into a digital version (see one of my other incarnations here): a version with the tag SA Writers Centre Digital Writer in Residence. All media are machines for contortion; to have some kind of presence on digital media seems increasingly necessary for writers, even if our engagement with it is sometimes unconscious.

When I step back; log off; shut down, I am surprised by the shift in my focus from digital to analogue and the ease of my hybrid existence between both realms. I don’t find them mutually exclusive. As a writer, I connect this hybrid to my motivation to carry on arranging words and images into creative patterns—firstly, for the pleasure of satisfying my compulsion to do so, but also to contribute to the culture surrounding me, to the zeitgeist of a digital age, and to send out words into the void, hoping for a response from Some Other Unknown.

One of the great pleasures of engaging with digital media and its various platforms is coming across a diverse group of creative people who balance their individual quests for immortality, using the creative processes particular to them, with the collective aim of developing digital writing as a genre. This kind of pluralism is one I support: one sympathetic to the assembling a few thousand disparate, peculiar and beautiful fragments belonging to the present into the grooves of one record, for a united sling back and launch. If the result is the intangible one of sending data off across a physical/digital/unknown universe, it is also one that will fracture the tendency to look too far inwards when immortality becomes a solo pursuit once more.

I suspect that the SAWC Digital Writer in Residence program will provide me with a present space from which to explore all types of artistic work—to share and expand on my skills as a digital and new media writer—and to meet (virtually) other people who unwind it. Here’s how:

  • through Friends with Drinks, a new worldwide creative collaboration mapping responses to what and where we drink. Submissions are now open at the Friends with Drinks tumblr and Facebook page
  • by finding out more about you, your work and your engagement with digital media
  • by sharing and discussing ideas and innovations involving digital approaches in writing and hybrid forms
  • through finding out what people harnessing digital approaches in their work are hoping to achieve
  • tracking the themes that emerge

The karmic chain of support between creative strangers extends worldwide and as the SAWC Digital Writer in Residence for July-August 2016 I will gladly receive and pass it on.


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