If you’ve been tweeting about that novel you’ve been working on for the last few years, then you may have finally succeeded in getting at least some of your work published in a new book by post-conceptual artist Cory Arcangel called Working On My Novel. The book essentially consists of tweets that Arcangel has collected based on an on-going project of the same name, which exists as a twitter account that simply retweets the best posts featuring the phrase “working on my novel.”
Although this book is blatantly wry and clever, it also addresses important issues of our technology laden era related to how we think and communicate, because while laser cutters and 3D printers may have made it easier than ever for us to produce amazing new things, other technologies, like mobile devices with access to social media, may be stifling our ability to adequately articulate our thoughts through these new technologies.
Working On My Novel is about the act of creation and the gap between the different ways we express ourselves today. Exploring the extremes of making art, from satisfaction and even euphoria to those days or nights when nothing will come, it’s the story of what it means to be a creative person, and why we keep on trying.
As an artist and maker, what I find really compelling about this book is that it seems to solve a problem by making a new work from the problem itself. Archangel noticed the irony of people writing on twitter about how they were working on their novel, which they were clearly not doing since they were obviously procrastinating by writing a tweet about it instead, and he created a productive outcome from their collective procrastination. Maybe the take away here is that every creative hole that we fall into in our constantly changing technological world is escapable if we just keep working on it, or maybe we just need to tweet about being stuck in a hole until someone throws us a rope, whatever works.
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