By Susanne Kass
I am fascinated by the way that text in the era of the digital world and social media has both expanded some of its properties but also adjusted some of the material aspects of words. In some ways I feel that written text has become even more material, or at least when writing I have felt a greater need to touch, feel texture, accept mistakes and markings as a part of the process of writing.
Time has also become condensed. With instant publishing the present moment is just more essential, the thoughts and feelings of today may be forgotten or different tomorrow, I can write bravely because I really don’t think anybody cares. If I don’t say it now it will never be, or at least everything will be different tomorrow.
In the loneliness of my studio I returned to my typewriter. Bought at a flea market as an instrument for a performance, more for its ability to produce noise than to spit out evenly spaced, legible type, it was heavy, awkward and revealed all my clumsiness and frustration, but with time we became friends.
I started writing texts in various formats and posting on instagram, eventually also dialogues on long rolls originally intended to print receipts for cash registers. Dialogues about love, relationships, two voices trying to understand each other. I’m not sure if these voices are characters, imagined conversations with people I wish I could talk to or simply a schizophrenic dialogue with my own inner thoughts. Trying to adjust to the restrictive digital frame of the format, pushing boundaries and learning what I can and can’t get away with, I have been forced to build a relationship to the medium while testing the boundaries of micro relationships built solely through words, bodiless personas who could be anyone or no one. What can be read from the little that is said? What is not said and what has been said before or after this fragment of conversation?
I write these dialogues because of my desire to talk about what can’t be properly put into words – love, the great mystery of another person – it mirrors the need to communicate and reach out across a void through the playfulness of imagination. Social media is full of these erratic and oddly addressed messages, trying to find a recipient, often just whoever is awake or available.
Be it a message sent out to the person sitting across from you at the table or across the void of cyberspace this need to see ourselves through dialogue keeps us talking, keeps us writing. We are constantly finding new ways to talk, to create, to love, to grieve. Trying and failing, falling down and getting up again, throwing our smudged and unedited selves into the abyss and hopefully landing in each others’ hearts and arms for at least a short moment of mutual understanding.