Water writes always in plural

A virtual writers-in-residence project

Water writes always in plural, 1997

Water writes always in plural, 1997

ANAT, as a joint initiative with the Adelaide based Electronic Writing and Research Ensemble, commissioned Perth based writer Josephine Wilson and Brisbane writer Linda Carroli to undertake ‘virtual’ residencies simultaneously from August through till mid October 1997.

The intention was that the writers worked collaboratively via the internet to produce work hypertextually. The writers/ artists worked at their own location and were therefore in-residence virtually. The Perth Institute for Contemporary Art and the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane are providing the writers with computer and internet access and the environment from which to work.

Carroli a freelance journalist, arts writer, essayist and researcher, has published in a range of art journals including Eyeline, RealTime, and Periphery and has curated a number of exhibitions, most recently as the Exhibitions Coordinator at Metro Arts in Brisbane. During the course of this residency, Carroli is keen to explore writing and its texture in a nonĀ­ linear and non-normative way, by exploring not only the potentials of working online and the terrain of electronic media, but also of the writing itself. “I am hoping to extend my writing practice by addressing, in the context of writing and virtuality, contingent ideas about process, participation and performance. This project will provide me with a space in which to make connections between the theory and the practice, perhaps blurring a few boundaries in the process.”

Wilson’s recent work has been in two fields: narrative fiction and writing for performance. Her recent performance work The Geography of Haunted Places, which drew on post-colonial and feminist theory in dialogue with contemporary political issues received high acclaim when it toured recently throughout Australia and in London. Reviewing the play at the Performance Space, Stephen Dunne wrote “This is everything contemporary performance should be – playful, intelligent, self aware, technically superb and confronting.”

Josephine is interested in exploring by the potential of online writing and hypertextual narratives, which she has analogised with meta-fiction and with the metaphoric – if metaphor is about transport, about taking you somewhere else.

Jyanni Steffensen and Linda Marie Walker of the Electronic Writing and Research Ensemble are keen for the writers to address, implicitly or explicitly electronic language taking account of critical research elsewhere. The Ensemble was established to explore notions of writing as invention. These residencies will provide the writers with an ideal opportunity to explore the invention of method and analysis, design and identity as well as geography for the specific medium of the internet community.

According to Josephine Wilson, “chat formed the foundation of the project in lots of ways. By keeping logs, we found that we could refer back to our conversations and words to isolate particular ideas and trajectories. It was from these that much of the content for our texts emerged, either directly or indirectly.”

Within the collaboration, the writers have sought to retain their distinct writing styles and voices. According to Linda Carroli, “this has been a way of recognising that collaboration doesn’t necessarily have to result in homogenisation, but rather that there is space for different voices, for partiality.”

In this respect, the writers while working collaboratively have also worked autonomously. The result is a work which investigates and deconstructs narrative in a series of departures and intersections.


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