Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Conference Paper Topic

Justin Crawford – Website Writing

What I would like to explore in my paper (if all possible) is digital writing, yet more specifically, using websites as a source for an author. Websites would allow an author to not only create a visual space (text, fonts, photocopies, photographs, drawings, collages) yet also an audio space (sound files/bytes, songs, sound effects, readings/voicings). An author could have readings of his/her work saved as sound files, photocopies of handwritten originals, and also produce written texts on the site that may also include drawings or photos that could tie into the work. This could be a form of self-publishing or self-promoting already published work, so the author essentially creates a living space that can constantly change, upgrade, reduce, and shape itself on a regular basis as along as the author knows how to create the space or has someone create the space for them.

The argument would be for the next step of digital media writing that could be a living space for work. Revisions could be a constant update (regardless if the work is published or not), and an audience (though not completely necessary for the website to have a purpose) could interact, post, blog whenever they feel like to create a true writers’ community. The particular texts that I would like to look at would be Glazier, Kac, Bernstein, “The Book as Machine,” “The Book of Bean,” and “The Artist’s Book by Idea and Form.”

The conference paper’s objective would be to interpret a praxis of website writing that could rationalize writing as changeable/living in the constant community of readers and writers in the new digital age like e-readers changing books, the website “book” could be the new “storage space” for writing and a new form of the “artist’s book”.


  1. Justin,

    Are you looking at specifically pieces that would be generated to be seen on the Web? Or companion pieces to printed works? When you talk about a place to store not just text but audio and video, I was reminded of this:
    which is Neil Gaiman's website for children. Not that it's a very avant-garde space, but it's the first one that comes to mind when I think about Web-based author sites.

    How are you envisioning website writing as different from what's done now?

  2. I like the idea of community that you are building, but the endless revision would be somewhat impacted by some of the forms people could publish (photocopies might be more or less difficult for people to modify). Also, Sandy mentioned proprietary verses non-proprietary programs and the decisions to use or not use these could put different texts as more or less flexible.

    In your paper you'll also probably want to address past writers communities and explain the failings of those in your development of what you mean by "true" writing community and without falling down the rabbit hole of deconstruction ... try to trouble the ideals you are trying to realize in the conception of this space as much as possible not just from a practical viewpoint (above) but from an ideological stance as well.

    Oh, another thing to think about might be the webmaster. How is the website maintained and organized and what is the political and theoretical implications of those decisions. How, if at all, is the website advertised, etc.

    I like the idea of a space like the one you are describing. Do you think you'll build it for this project or following the paper?

  3. I like the idea of a space, and how the space influences the writer. How can the visual space "determine" the writer's course of work, or the road that is to be taken?

  4. Ben brings up some great points. I'm not sure I'd say that past writing communities failed, I just think internet communities can be vast in because of access to the webiste. No, I don't think I could build this mainly because their either pop-up generated or cost a lot of money to have someone build.

    Mainly, I'm thinking of the artists' book and how that book could be changed via a website. Thanks for all the comments.

  5. First off, great idea. You've got an idea of what the web / website could offer an author, and you want to elaborate this. Secondly, there's how existing sites do / do not offer such a space. Certainly this was a possibility opened by the web from the first, and the Web 2.0 formats of blogs, wikis, and free hosting sites such as Google sites, suggested expanded possibilities for this. Another question is of the different models: there's the site as archive, the site as "book," the site as writing space, the site as publicity, etc. In setting out the essay, I think you can present a "vision" or utopia via some of the essays you mention, and then you could critique / discuss a few of the current possibilities on the web. You might conclude with a kind of map or plan of getting to the vision? Mark Amerika has done some interesting thinking-through of the networked author. Look here and look at the web writings at the bottom. Another thing that might be interesting as a part of this is to look at a bunch of websites of author's you like (or one's you don't like?) - presumably they have homepages - and see what is offered there, and also who creates the site (presumably created for the author).

  6. Actually, if you want to taste Mark Amerika's thinking, best to look here: