Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Friday, February 19th, 2010

For 400 days, Charles Broskoski diligently worked his way through a downloaded torrent file of 356 .pdf files displaying computer programming books written in a highly technical language.

As he read through the books, Broskoski took daily notes compiled in .txt files, as well as a series of .jpg-compressed photographs depicting a list of the downloaded programming books.

In each photograph, he would cross an entry out every time he successfully completed a book.

This performance art is the bedrock of his work Computer Skills.

In the wake of the performance, there was an exhibition at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York in which Broskoski exhibited two trace elements of his performance:

1. A sculpture.

O’Reilly, the company which publishes the computer programming books read by Broskoski, agreed to send the artist physical copies of 250 of the books which he stacked in a grid of four columns – each column of the grid fit into the cut-out nook of a brick wall.

2. An epic poem.

Broskoski printed out and bound a book consisting of the notes and digital photographs he took during his performance organized chronologically.

Each page of notes in the book is framed by a pair of thin black lines which form a round-cornered box around the body of the text.

This framing allows one the opportunity to view the chronologically organized notes as something not noted, but written.

As the notes develop, the absurdity of his task mounts and the clarity of the notes themselves begins to devolve.

He asks existential questions and begins to view reading the books as laborious. But this labor gives him a thought:

He writes:

Honestly, the thing that resonated with me the most was the amount of times the authors thanked their significant others for letting them spend time on the computer while they were on their honeymoon.

I think what I gained is a heightened sense of how computers operate, and a better idea of the humanity behind all programming languages.


With this is mind, one views the humanity of Broskoski’s performance as well.