And Now For Something A Bit Different (21st Century Word Slogans and Memes by Douglas Coupland)

I am sharing Gary’s personal take on Coupland’s ‘Slogans for the 21st century’ because I enjoyed his comments and am happy for another point of view from someone else who attended the show. I have followed Gary’s blog for a long time and am always inspired by his art and deeply thoughtful meditations on what it is to be human in our challenging world. I encourage you to visit Gary’s site and immerse yourself in his compassionate and insightful words and images.

Waking Spirals

“Anywhere is Everywhere is Anything is Everything”
— Douglas Coupland

Today I went to an art exhibit of the works of the writer/artist Douglas Coupland with the title of the above quote. It was an amazing exhibit and a remarkable reflection of what it means to live during the internet age… There was a room of memes – 21st century slogans that I thought I’d share some of for tonight’s blog. All slogans from the exhibit with perhaps the occasional comment from me.

I Miss My Pre-Internet Brain

Last week I was thinking how difficult it was to remember how I researched things and how different things were before I had basically the world of information at my fingertips. I know that my attention span has shrunk tho my ability to access information has increased. My short-term memory has decreased tho my ability to multi-task has reached an all time…

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Word Clouds 2 and Slogan #5 (Douglas Coupland at the VAG)

word cloud 3(interviewer) Are there deeper connections between your art and novels?
(Coupland) They’re so interconnected. You can’t just kill one Siamese twin. Part of the survey is a [section] where books become objects and then objects turn into words. And each of my books has all sorts of suggestions of either sculpture or installation or time-based art. In Microserfs in particular, there’s all those word clouds. The premise was What if your hard drive was dreaming? And guess what? Twenty years later, word clouds are just the way we file information now. For a decade I got people saying, “Gosh, Doug, your writing is very, dot-dot-dot, visual isn’t it? And I was never sure if it was a put-down or put-up. I realized what they’re telling me is “Doug, I’m not a visual thinker, and your books are written that way so it’s very hard for me to get into them.” I think non visual thinking is spread around the human race in a 2-to-1 ratio to visual thinking. Inasmuch as there’s a book world, I’ve never felt a part of it, and I don’t think I ever will.

Thanks to http://www.vulture.com/ for this interview fragment.

word clouds 4Slogan # 5:

Slogan 5Please see my first post in this series for full explanation of all posts. Also see my first ‘Slogans’ and ‘Word Cloud’ posts for details on this section.

Credits: thank you to Douglas Coupland and the Vancouver Art Gallery for images and wall descriptions.

All photos by clinock.

 

Word Clouds and Slogan #4 (Douglas Coupland at the VAG)

word cloud 1word cloud description

 Word Clouds, another room in the VAG of Douglas Coupland’s text-based art. We all are familiar with Word Clouds and many of us use them in the ‘content’ area of our blogs, but it’s fascinating to view Coupland’s early 20th century concept of this as a computer’s dream.

word cloud 2

There is something random and incongruous here, reminding me of Dadaist poetry. These works are framed behind glass so what looks like reflections on their surfaces actually are reflections….another level of seeing. The fact that they are framed behind glass as traditional works of art adds to the incongruity. A preciously framed computer’s dream!

Slogan #4:

Slogans 4Do I? Do You? Can we ever go back? Honestly?

Please see my first post in this series for full explanation of all posts. Also see my first ‘Slogans’ post for details on this section.

Credits: thank you to Douglas Coupland and the Vancouver Art Gallery for images and wall descriptions.

All photos by clinock.

Footnote: to save you looking it up…Shinhatsubai (新発売) is a marketing ploy widely used in Japan that is slowly spreading internationally.
In a nutshell, ShinHatsubai can be interpreted as “New out” and is used to denote the latest and greatest generation of some product or other. From cars to computers the Japanese media feeds the consumerism that has become the norm in Japanese society where the vast majority of people feel compelled to have the latest thing.

Thank you to: http://michaelkishi.wordpress.com/ for this information.

Slogans for the 21st century #3. (Douglas Coupland at the VAG)

Slogans 3Paranoia or reality?

Please see my first post in this series for full explanation of all posts. Also see my first ‘Slogans…’ post for details on this section.

Credits: thank you to Douglas Coupland and the Vancouver Art Gallery for images and wall descriptions.

All photos by clinock

Slogans for the 21st century #2. (Douglas Coupland at the VAG)

Slogans 2Digging beneath Coupland’s quirky, tongue-in-cheek humour…what do you think he is saying between the lines?

Please see my first post in this series for full explanation of all posts. Also see my first ‘Slogans…’ post for details on this section.

Credits: thank you to Douglas Coupland and the Vancouver Art Gallery for images and wall descriptions.

All photos by clinock

Slogans for the 21st century. (Douglas Coupland at the VAG).

Slogans 1One room of the Douglas Coupland exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery is covered with his “Slogans for the 21st century.” Two walls are partially shown above to give you an idea of the general appearance. Six or seven such walls offer a smorgasbord of food for thought, almost too much for the brain to digest, a cerebral overload echoing the WWW in microcosm.  Here is the gallery write-up:

Slogans 2

I was transfixed by this room, overwhelmed and hypnotized by the colours and text beyond context, but also wanting to explore the meaning of each and every aphorism presented. Some of these I absorbed immediately with gut felt understanding; others I needed time to explore. I will be sharing some of my individual favorites in this and future posts, alone, and also along with other text based works by Douglas Coupland. I will be very interested in your responses to these slogans (including those in my first photo above) as many refer to the ambiance in which we find ourselves as on-line bloggers. Here is the first:

DSC08254Is this true for you? Do you think this is generally true for many of us who blog on a regular basis? What did you do before you blogged? What would you do if, for some reason, you were unable to blog any more? Are we slowly but surely exchanging our physical, face to face, interpersonal relationships for electronic ghost friendships?

What do you think?

Please see my first post in this series for explanation.

Credits: thank you to Douglas Coupland and the Vancouver Art Gallery for images and wall descriptions.

All photos by clinock