Apologies to anyone unable to attend last night’s second official Meanland event at The Wheeler Centre, because it was a fantastic adventure. Not only was it riveting and engaging, it was positively electrifying; every panelist, a captivating speaker with a unique perspective and relationship to possibility and exploration in reading, writing and creating with technology.
As Overland editor Jeff Sparrow said as he launched the ‘Reading in a time of technology’ panel, the time has come to move the discussion beyond a resistance to technology and the digital medium because of an attachment to the smell of old books. This panel was about thinking about how reading and writing has already exceeded the expectations of the ‘book’.
You are your own audience. First take home message from tonight’s #Meanland.
Writer, editor, performer and technology pioneer Klare Lanson immediately threw the audience in the deep-end with her poetic rendition of ‘the talk’, an amazing performance. As Jeff left the stage, his voice lingered, on repeat, and was then interwoven into a soundscape of the previous Meanland panel’s speculation on the future of reading (Marieke Hardy, Peter Craven, Margaret Simons and Sherman Young).
Mixed with sound, this aural landscape became the background for Klare’s performance. (Unfortunately, not all technology was on her side last night and the audience was deprived of the accompanying visuals). This landscape evolved into her poem, ‘Whatever’.
Klare explored how reading shapes us, makes us do things. ‘The screen wants us to do things with words and it’s hard not to feel like a machine in this day and age.’ She focused on cut-up, mash-up, reforming, on all of this concern about the misrepresentation of the individual book. About the fear that the digitisation of a singular book will result in all of the books in the world merging into one, a kind of collective consciousness with no beginning, no end, no individuality.