By Karen Christopher


There’s something important here about knowing other people and the possibility or otherwise of that. There’s something important about the layers of knowing or showing that appear among a group. On the blog there are regulars (“distinguished locals”) who comment and are therefore “signed up” or made public even if only in a way that is manufactured for the purpose. And there are people who look at it regularly but who are not signed up (“lurkers”) and presumably there are also legions of tourists and spiders dropping by. Within the room we are juggling these inner and outer circle utterances more or less transparently. We are checking in and out and we are spending a lot of time alone together. A note from my notebook: “Likeness to pornography in that it is an experience of being alone together.” This was not meant to describe the workroom but rather the blog and the cloud of people all in a hub-and-spoke formation with Dennis Cooper, the author of the blog, and the caretaker of its distinguished locals. Now it also seems to describe us in the room, working.

We are getting to know each other. We are getting to know the blog. We are getting to know who we are in this particular configuration and what voice(s) we are able to assume here and how we sound in it. We are spending a lot of time online combing through the blog in the service of making a performance, not so much finding solutions in these early days of the process, more like soaking in the world of the blog and following threads away from and back to it.

The blog community, a clutch of people who visit daily (or almost daily), know each other and care for each other and create personas to try out with each other and I’m not managing to stop myself from making an analogy with us in this room commenting, showing, hoping, and vying for attention. We know each other in this specific context and there’s a fondness growing among us built around a specific set of concerns that is growing and complicating itself as we work, materialising as we bring it into focus rather than being a pre-composed fixture waiting to be found.

Is a disembodied voice ever possible? The written voices of the dLs (distinguished locals) come with involuntary embodiments (conscious or unconscious) and in some cases dLs have crushes on each other or lust after each other without ever having met. I remind myself that if we have ever heard live voices we do hear written words with a voice and with the particular sounds that letters and words have been assigned. I misplace an unfamiliar word if I do not commit a sound to it or “speak” it aloud in my head. These people who appear as words on a screen are endowed with whatever fantasy life I give them. The same can be true of people who are actually in a room together.