Writing on the Streets

I attempted to communicate affect with the simplest form.


This is a conceptual writing experimentation, with language objects, mental space, and memories.

I made a plain webpage with a screenful of hyperlinks , in their default typeface. Every hyperlink is a real or imaginary location, and clicking on it you would be directed to another page with only a few words, which reveal a piece of my personal memory associated with this location. This was a mental exercise for me, a tiring but also satisfying one.

All the addresses are repeated at least three times in this piece. The plan was to try my best to recapture moments. The visuals and language kept replaying in my head until they were connected to sentiments and started making sense. “Replication is a sign of desire,” as Vanessa Place and Robert Fitterman wrote in “Notes on Conceptualism.” The street addresses are stripped of their original functionality through times of replications, from their physical existence to ideas in my head to my keyboard to my laptop screen and then to the internet, which gives it the potential to extend to any type of screens. This replication involves the copying of content and thus the complete transformation of nature of this content, from physical space to language object. Before, the streets were streets, right now they are streets on the internet, words on a screen, a clickable link connected to a few words that indicate emotions. Once I see the street addresses on my laptop, what they mean are not what they used to be. They are appropriated, completely reborn, through the digital rendition of internet and my emotion rendition of writing.

These renditions turn the streets into its purest form possible — as data, a trail of numbers 1 and 0, intangible and elusive, sent from an un-locatable server and then got interpreted into html and finally read by the browser. In this process of rendition, font and size would only be unnecessary ornaments and even distractions. So I let the computer language decide on their looks and settings. I live with the default. In the end, these streets become plain “information,” and even, as Kenneth Goldsmith says, “information about information.” In this age of extreme information excess, what it offers is not the text itself. It offers a product of memorizing. It offers the process of how it came into being.