1. Words that cannot be quoted

    This is a hard thing to explain. I have read the text of a lecture called “On Beginnings” three times. It opens the book Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle, and the end of each sentence leaves me gasping the way a kiss can begin in a gasp. Ruefle shimmies through the connection between beginnings and endings, and I want so badly to share it with you, but no sentence can be read with a gasp without the ones that precede. It has seams, but no pieces. I have never read anything like it.

  2. "We ought to be bad citizens. We ought to, in the sense that we’re writing against what power represents, and often what government represents, and what the corporation dictates, and what consumer consciousness has come to mean. In that sense, if we’re bad citizens, we’re doing our job."

    Don Delillo quoted in Hilowbrow Heroes birthday tribute

  3. "When a person makes something, s/he funnels a bit of his/her inherent existence into that object, and controls its fate—until that production is subsequently bought, sold, trashed, or released out into the world. This power of creation contains a right of destruction, and we take the right to kill our objects very seriously. To unmake something is the dark side of making things, and we hold this threat over every object we control."

    -Adam Rothstein

    The Dominion of Machines Begins When You Fail the Holden Test on Medium

  4. The intimacy of empty rooms

    What’s empty is also full.

    So much of the web constitutes voyeurism now, you barely even hear the word. This is different. FatLab’s BRBXOXO grabs live streams of camgirls when they’re left the frame.

    The women who volunteered to be watched are removed from the picture, and we are in trespass. Their performance implies consent, but they never said we could look around their rooms. It’s intimate the way that voyeurism is intimate. You are not supposed to be here.

    Years ago I saw this in photography projects like Elizabeth Moran’s The Armory—sad, bright, aestheticized photos of porn sets without people in them—and likewise Jo Broughton’s Empty Porn Sets.

    And then I saw it in Dennis Knopf’s Bootyclipse, a collection of Booty Shake video clipped down to the still rooms before or after the main attraction.

    They all boil down to this: something titillating has happened here, or will, but you can’t see it. What’s visible instead are things you were never meant to see, never meant to notice. I could look at this forever.

  5. #ghostofdone

    When we first met, B made a Skype video call from his apartment to mine, half a mile away. It was my first. And it was strange. 

    Falling in love is an experience lived twice. You’re intensely present in every shared moment, every moment of separated longing. All the while your sharp, vigilant awareness of every thought, gesture, and word weaves in and out of the rushes. You live and you observe. You feel and you interpret. The fall in falling in love is felt in every nerve as raw and real; it’s also state of profound alienation.

    Add to that the displacement and mediation of a video call. The fact that you are looking at yourself or at your lover, and neither of these looks into his eyes. To do that, you have to look at the camera and imagine that you see him looking back at you.

    We spent the entire call talking about the strangeness of the call, and by the end of it, I wanted to write a series of very short films done as video calls between two people who fall in love that way. We came up with a plot and a structure and I sketched it all out on big index cards, and then when we realized it would probably require real actors, it seemed like too big a project to squeeze in between the novel I was writing and the business he was starting. 

    I just found the notecards, written with a plastic fountain pen and now faded by consequence to look older than they are. The notes are lovely. The idea is outmoded. 

    Two things did come out of that abandoned project. I taught a class later called “Mediated Intimacy" and I wrote a short story in the form of a series of IM conversations between separated lovers.

    And in our Cult of Done Manifesto, point 12 is “If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.”

    And so.

  6. This is not a vitamin


    At the turn of the year, my friend Austin Kleon posted about his annual logbook project, a record of events in a page-a-day calendar, from significant to mundane, equally weighted. I find it hard to resist projects that involve fancy notebooks and aids to memory, so I tried it.

    I write fiction, and I don’t know if that excuses me. I am the mother of a small child and I don’t know if that excuses me. Every day the things I wrote were interior. What happened in my head as if it was an event. Because there were few other events, and even those were repetitive. Wrote. Took daughter to park. Daughter’s new words. Napped. Strange dreams. Couldn’t sleep. And then. And then. The things that went on in my head ran up against the limits of a single page. I’m not a journal keeper, and all this interiority embarrassed me. In those same cold months, I had finished writing a book of nonfiction, a very practical book, and I wanted, with my few spare moments, to begin a new novel. A few spare moments don’t really lend themselves to new novels. But one day there was a single sentence that I worked over in my head as I went through the cyclic events of my day. So I turned the embarrassing notebook sideways and wrote it down. With that I changed the purpose of the pages. I started writing a single sentence a day. The first one was this.

    Only the person who slides between two lives can say “it was always you” and have it mean anything at all.

  7. This started…

    This started in a very different place than it ended up.

    I moved in the hot summer and there are still a few boxes at the margins of the house. A few days ago I found the one with all the film cameras. Dianas, Holgas, my first 35, a canon, my boyfriend’s Nikon, lenses and flashes, an angled mirror spy attachment I bought when I first saw Sophie Calle’s book Please Follow Me. I was 19. In the way that we sometimes repress our influences so that we can work freely, it was only today that I noticed the resonance of my own novel’s title, Follow Me Down, with hers, my story with her book’s story, how long I have been obsessed with strangers and followings. That all has something to do with what happened.

    [The rest of the story at…Municipal Archive]

  8. Wow, Don’t Go Back to School is in the Washington Post (in great company, I might add)! http://t.co/3yMduSJg h/t @dansinker

  9. MT @kbarbarossa: watch @doctorow on the coming war on general computation. its important. http://t.co/Gpkkk6Eq [me: great talk+ Q&A]

  10. Consensus overwhelming: ignore the trolls. Runner up, sweet dismissal. Promises from my sleeper-cell army to defend me = cherished.


I'm Kio Stark. I write fiction, I write about strangers, and I teach geeks about ideas at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. My first novel, Follow Me Down, was published in June 2011 by Red Lemonade. My handbook for independent learners, Don't Go Back to School, is now available on Amazon or on my site.

Ask Me Anything

More here: Kio Stark

See also: Municipal Archive


Contact: [mywholename] [at] gmail

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