This ranks really, really high in the annals of content-free political pablum. Come ON, Barack. Not only can you do better than this; you must do better than this. Promising hope&change was all well and good 4 years ago, before you were president. But now vague hand-wavy promises aren’t enough. Sorry.
In September 2010 I began collecting tweets written by people I follow on Twitter. By early December I was in the print studio typesetting the tweets by hand for letterpress, and just finished up last week.
Here were my rules: only one tweet per author, no links, no promotions and no general retweets (content was written by the author). All 100 selected must be from people I follow; writers, journalists, bloggers, environmentalists, eaters/foodies and artists. My initial intention was to pluck snarky throw-aways; comments authors wrote off-course. I was looking for the banal or ironic. Most of these authors are competent writers, so I grabbed comments that were clever and well-said.
But the project evolved. Without being fully conscious of this fact, I started to look for my voice in others. About a third of the way in, I realized each tweet was almost a shared thought. It became an act of applying “THIS” (a commonly used word in front of a retweet when one author agrees with another). “100 Tweets” became self-reflective. Looking at the artwork as a whole is weirdly revealing and perhaps the most personal project I have made in almost 20 years.
Much of the content will mean different things to different people, and I don’t expect it to be fully understood. Some might immediately remember the reference, but most will piece it together for the first time. The metadata line (author, time, date and device stamp) can give clues for each tweet. I subconsciously started to create patterns, there are several tweets which have a mate. Generally, this was not deliberate and continues to surprise me as I find more connections.
“100 Tweets” also documents history as events developed over the last nine months. News and opinions are exchanged in rapid fire on Twitter. For me, watching local, domestic and global events unfold via Twitter is a hypnotic experience. In these nine months there was the Arab Spring, a possible US government shutdown, the killing of Osama Bin Laden, a union revolt in Wisconsin and a massive tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan. Not to mention equally consuming rape allegations concerning one of the most powerful men in the world, the IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Witnessing or joining the discussion on Twitter can be a smart and informative dialog of events in 140 characters. I find this to be far more layered and interesting than topics or opinions shared on Facebook.
However tweets quickly disappear in the feed and become yesterday’s news in minutes. “100 Tweets” records brief moments of long forgotten comments by a small group of people.
Following a very strict formal layout, I used Gerhard Richter’s method of selecting 100 random Pantone colors to print each tweet. Instead of a color grid, the paper would create the rectangles and the text would be the color. The Tweets are in order of the randomly selected Pantone numbers which was generated by random.org. The metadata line was written using TweetDeck conventions.
Cheltenham Condensed takes on a 19th Century look, but is easily readable from a distance. I looked for an industrial typeface which expressed craft and old machinery; a charming contradiction to TweetDeck’s Myriad font.
Hand typesetting letterpress is like the “Slow Food” of printing. Methodically spending hours on one tweet seemed like an ideal task of transferring the high-tech into low-tech. Applying 100 various colors for each piece, it was important to group the Pantone numbers together in similar colors and tones. A good 11-12 hour day produced 5 tweets. I don’t think I was ever able to print more than 5 in one go. Normally it was less, as I’d wrestle with pale colors which aren’t normally suited for type. When this type was made about a century ago, most printers would not have used a pastel pink or pale yellow to print. Type is made of lead, which gets dirty as the ink builds up. Producing clean prints of any light colors took much longer, and was sometimes impossible.
As I’d work late into evenings, I’d make minor dyslexic errors only to wake up the following morning to discover I had to reset the type and print it all over again. Was the author’s name spelled correctly? Did I spell Echofon with an “f” or a “ph”? Corrected about 9 tweets because I typeset “Tues” instead of “Tue”. Originally this project was used as a productive exercise while working out some frustrating kinks in a series of large scale paintings last summer. But here I was; suddenly wrestling a beastly monster, and the joke was on me. No longer was this a “productive exercise” or a distraction from my painting project, this ended up vastly detailed and laborious and became my single focus.
It seemed most appropriate to display the tweets back online, so I am offering a small edition of each for purchase. There is also one large artwork which includes all 100 tweets and resides at my studio. Keeping the art online is also a free way to reach the public, anyone can see the project.
The project is up here: 100tweets.net
It has been my great pleasure to work at The Arm for the better part of a year. I spent over 250 hours on the press, not counting the typesetting in the library. Thanks go out to the owner of The Arm, Daniel Morris (who also teaches letterpress at Cooper Union), master printer Bryan Baker (who just relocated to Detroit), producer Ayana Morali of Reuters for taking interest in the project, the Todd-Matthies duo for their endless encouragement and finally my husband Felix Salmon for his constant copy editing which sent me back to reprint at least 40 tweets along the way. He also gets props for tolerating stacks of paper throughout our apartment and shaking up a cocktail after a long day on the press. Felix you rock.
Are there really interesting things going on in Bordeaux? Obviously it has the bones to make great wine. I’d love recommendations for really good, moderately-priced Bordeaux: conventional wisdom has it that the top wines are far too expensive (undoubtedly true) while the rest are largely boring or even downright bad.
I will say this one more time. You do understand English, don’t you? I do not sell my soul for Apple or any other company. I have no interest in “changing the world” as you suggest. You have nothing that I need or want. You are a computer salesman - I am fucking JAMES BOND!
I can think of no quicker way to destroy my career than to appear in one of your crass adverts. Please do not contact me again.
Sean Connery” —EXPOSED: The iMac disaster that almost was | Scoopertino
Even Brian Stelter is hobbled by NYT politesse. How many external links ought to be in this passage? And how many are there? (Clue: the answer to the second question is zero.)
Don’t call it does nothing. Zero, zip, nada, nothing
We think it does, because every advocacy group out there pounds it into our head: “call, call, call” But they are doing this not because they think the call itself will create change, they are telling everyone to call because but if a supporter participates in an action, even a small insignificant one, they are more likely to be hardend in their support. Someone who picks up a phone and calls an elected official is more likely to donate next time they get a email, a supporter who calls is more likely to show up and actually vote on election day, a supporter who calls is more likely to talk to friends.
The elected official in question is NOT more likely to vote in line with the caller.” —
So true. But hey, I’ll take what I can get.
Keith Kelly attempts to describe the Conde Nast air vent on the north wall of 1WTC, which will be “about one story high and up to 25 feet wide”. This thing is going to be made of glass? I’d love to see more details on how it’s going to be constructed, but I suspect some bureaucrat at the Port Authority would consider that a security breach.