Personas performing writing

Conversations on Twitter can be totally inspirational, voyeuristic and intriguing.People who write poetry get to know each other’s work through Twitter streams. Poetry parties are held. Hash tags are used to distinguish form. Within this context the act of writing becomes a performance as well as communication. Real names are rarely used. If I look through the lists of those I follow and those who follow me, I see an array of names that mask ‘real’ names (or names on the surface). People have created personas.

I have a background in theatre as well as other creative forms like photography, video art and writing. When I thought about this phenomenon in Twitter, it reminded me of the work of the theatre anthropologist Schechner and his theory of performance. According to his theory, acting, when done with art is a liminoid state of not not me. What this means in simple terms is that I as me read and learn a character part which is not me. If I am to act my part with art and truth, I need to learn the part so well through practice that when I play it on a stage I am in a not not me state. I feel there is a connection here with what happens in Twitter streams.  There is oscillation between people, between poems and between words. If I choose to join, my hope is that people will respond to me in some way, or even retweet my tweet so it will live a little longer in the stream. My relationship to the stream is both personal and public. Participating is both practice and performance and definitely a form of public art.

Recently Remittancegirl, whom I follow spoke about personas people adopt when writing in Twitter streams in an essay called ‘Your Persona – Twitter Culture and Creativity. _Monocle_  also wrote a stunning essay on his process of writing for Twitter: “Twitterfiction and Interactivism”.

So what does this all mean for the ways we write and make art?  To delve further into this question, I can only think of more questions, all of which are intriguing … about subjunctive spaces.

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