Christopher Baker

It's Been a While Since I Last Wrote (2008)

Luminescent Cursive

It’s Been a While since I last Wrote is a robotic writing mediation on repetition, the obligation to participate online and the waning use of hand-written text. One might argue that the primary goal of writing is to communicate with others. But writing, particularly writing by hand, can also serve as a meditative act - a practice that fosters slow, thoughtful contemplation. While it borders on nostalgia to think that these two functions were in perfect balance once-upon-a-time, it seems clear that the rise of digitally mediated communication has altered the nature of writing. In this fast-paced, keyboard-dominated, Internet communication culture, speed is of the essence. A quick web search reveals that each day hundreds of hastily written blog entries begin with variations on the apologetic phrase it’s been a while since I last wrote. Invariably the authors then proceed to describe their busy lives and commit to publishing updates more frequently. Messages like these reveal not only a sense of obligation to communicate with a real (or imagined) online audience, but also point to the desire to slow down and take time to thoughtfully contemplate, record and make meaning from one’s daily experiences. It’s Been A While Since I Last Wrote is a meditation on the often-competing desires for slow contemplative writing and fast-paced communicative writing. The installation, which is comprised of a 40 inch x 40 inch luminescent surface and an ultra-violet writing head controlled by two motors, continuously scrawls the phrase It’s been a while since I last wrote in a digitized version of the artist’s cursive. Disappearing almost as quickly as it is written, the phrase encapsulates the competing desires for speed and thoughtfulness.



Specifications

Medium

Custom Hardware, Custom software, UV LED, Luminescent Paint

Dimensions

40 inch x 40 inch

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