(This is the last blog post of a one month project: finding daily source text online & making/posting artwork each 24 hours. Scroll down to the beginning or click around to find links to the original project statement, etc. – mrk)
2/22: “You’re doing it right.”
2/23: “You all offer collective support”
2/24: “I want to go back, despite differences”
2/25: “I hope she wins the race.”
2/26: “I like exchanging ideas.”
2/27: “where he belongs”
2/28: “I try not to be like that anymore.”
The month was coming to a close. I needed to know if I was doing this right. Does that answer come from me or someone else? Is this working? So much of this project had me walking blindly, hoping that each step was the right one to follow the previous one. I relied on the collective support of real people through my own online exchanges or in real life words. I needed to keep moving forward even if there was discrepancy between my intentions and the outcome. The finish line was close. I had to remember the purpose to this. I had to know I belonged in the studio, doing what I was doing. I wanted the process to change me.
Each piece of text in the last week fit into the drive to finish this project. I simultaneously explored the last ideas on my list of topics to search out, while (it turns out) I found words to keep myself going. The first days of the last week were the hardest. One of the nights, I did say to myself I QUIT. I mostly knew I wouldn’t. But I had to say it. I had to stomp my foot and say: I’ve had enough of this. Nearly 28 days of searching, reading through exhausting online conversations and arguing, finding people who were overtly & clearly hateful along with the online spots where friends gather with supportive common interests. I wanted my internet back- the one where I knew the terrain & the people, where I came for what I wanted & left when I wanted.
The more I came to know about the many worlds on the internet, the more I began to wonder if the most terrible people among us, the ones who end up as the sole violent protagonists on heartbreaking days- did some of these people have their own mysterious community? Are they not so lone after all? Could they, would they have become so awful without prompting from an anonymous person in some remote place? Is this why a criminal would destroy their computer hard drive? Anonymous profiles & postings allow for many dubious people to come together with like-minded callousness. I barely scratched the surface of that world. I couldn’t really go into the dark tunnels that lead there. But now I know they exist. Who goes there?
In this fourth & last week of the project, I paid one more visit to YouTube: it was a fun video to start the day, something so many people do now: looking for a little lolz. I needed that break myself. I also searched out discussions over religion, and found a place where Christians prompted each other to more understanding and inclusiveness towards Muslims. I spent a day on a popular sports blog: a female athlete received persistent misogynistic comments and one person finally had something good to say. A blog popped up after the Oscars in response to Ang Lee’s treatment of people in the visual effects industry; someone took time in the debate to not only respond to divergent views, but to draw out the opposing viewpoints–something that isn’t done very often anywhere. Someone in one of my social media feeds experienced a tragic loss; she immediately received support from her online connections. I felt that one thing missing from the month was the way parents go online for community; I found a parent who welcomed their child home after a hospital stay. Since the very same day I followed several links to stories that supported the needs of gay parents, I made the piece in honor of those families. I concluded the month with a little search. Who was the most hated on the internet? I found a very distasteful rant from a self-righteous woman… and was relieved to find someone who owned up to those qualities in themselves & who hoped to be a different person. Honestly, I don’t even know if the rant was made by a real persona or if it was one that was constructed for an actress. Either way, I closed the month out focusing not on hating the hateful person, but on a comment that worked to reconcile something, anything– even if it wasn’t with the one who incited so much anger.
This blog is a record of what I found in February 2013.
I Will Find
Kianga Ellis Projects
February 1-28, 2013
The “I Will Find” project statement is here.
The “I Will Find” artwork is: