• Holding Text: (Un)creative Writing in the Digital Age

    “It seems that the Surrealist vision of a dream culture has been fully realized in today’s technologies. We are awash in a new, electronic collective unconscious; strapped to several devices, we’re half awake, half asleep. We speak on the phone while surfing the Web, partially hearing what’s being said to us while simultaneously answering e-mails and checking status updates. We’ve become very good at being distracted. From a creative point of view, this is reason to celebrate. The vast amount of the Web’s language is perfect raw material for literature.”

    This lecture, based on Kenneth Goldsmith’s class ‘Wasting Time on the Internet,’ which he currently teaches at Penn University, will be a mix of lecture, workshop and seminar, in which students will be asked to take a drift through the internet and create and present a new piece of writing, engaging with the theories of situationism, derive, detournement, plagiarism, repetition and De Certeau’s theory of the navigation of the everyday.


    Goldsmith, Kenneth, 2014. ‘Why I Am Teaching A Course Called “Wasting Time on the Internet”. The New Yorker, Nov 13. [http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/wasting-time-on-the-internet]

    “Moving Information”: On Kenneth Goldsmith’s The Weather, Marjorie Perloff:[http://marjorieperloff.com/stein-duchamp-picasso/goldsmith-weather/#_edn1]

    Key Text:

    Uncreative Writing, Kenneth Goldsmith. CUP.

    LANGUAGE AS MATERIAL: Materiality and Method

    This lecture continues our theme of Uncreative Writing, exploring literary texts which priviledge form, materiality, schema, and playfulness over plot, character or theme, and interrogates the political ecology of language and art; what is/isn’t considered viable and valuable raw material and how do we evaluate output/product.

    “Uncreative writing morrors the ethos of net neutral advocates, claiming that one way of treating language is materially, focusing on formal qualities as well as communicative ones. … even in their most abstracted form, letters are embedded with semantic, semiotic, historical, cultural and associative meanings.” (Goldsmith, 2011)

    To read ahead of lecture:

    Mandl, Dave. 2011. ‘Kenneth Goldsmith. What happens when sense is not foregrounded as being of primary importance?’ The Believer Magazine.


    Hong, Jee Hee. 2003. The University of Chicago. ‘Material, Materiality: Theories of Media.’ http://csmt.uchicago.edu/glossary2004/material.htm

    Borkent, Mike. (2010) ‘The Materiality of Cognition: Concrete Poetry and the Embodied Mind.’ WRECK: Volume 3, number 1

    Further recommended reading:

    Goldsmith, Kenneth. 2011. ‘Language as Material.’ Uncreative Writing, CUP.

    The list of questions and extended Reading List are uploaded above.



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