Writing on Water
About
Research
Starting Point: Value of Ephemerality

When proposed with the dilemma of maintaining information despite being unable to grasp it, what would you do? Would you prefer not knowing and maintaining an information, or experience it and remove it from existence? In my opinion, the answer lies on the perception of value: If one thinks the information existing in the world is overall more valuable than the information being seen by them and ceasing to exist. The value of oneself against a piece of information. My goal for this project is to impose this question on the viewer in a controlled setting to observe their choices, to make the viewer aware of the question of value, to make them think about it critically about their consumption. I think this might be an interesting question to ask these days where all the information we consume is on our computers or online and easily accessible, where we don’t even have to retain the information in our memories because that task has been delegated to our digital extensions.

• Schrödinger’s cat
• Artists destroying their own sketches, copies of work so the existing ones would become more valuable and unreachable
• Outer Wilds
Concept 1: Time-Based Book

A book that is only readable for a limited time frame before it destroys itself and become unreadable. Books are, by their nature, expected to be there for a long time. They are made to last years, to be gazed any time and many times. They get passed over to other people and get resold. We don’t really use books and throw them away; they are a different kind of consumer product. This concept turns these expectations around so the viewer only has a really limited amount of time to spend with this book. How to use this time depends on the viewer, a 5 minute gaze every year so the information retains itself? Or an indulgent hour of reading before the book is gone forever?

(The destroying effect would be achieved with unwashed cyanotype, so the UV rays slowly darken the exposed solution, making the print unreadable depending on the UV intensity of the environment. This gives every spread approx. 25 minutes of reading time on a cloudy day)


Concept 2: Confessions Box

A mechanism where the participants can add on their own confessions, the information we dearly keep to ourselves to be seen by no one, to exist in the safe confinement of a box. When a viewer wants to acquire this precious information by pulling the piece of paper that contains it, the mechanism censors it, rendering the information unreadable. The confessions can only lie unaltered within the box and the minds of their owners.

(Would be imagined in an empty room with several of the boxes asking specific questions to participants)


Concept 3: Search Engine

A different search engine where you can only find a specific result until you click on it. All the results on this engine would be one-click-only ones. Once you click on a website, the search engine would stop giving you the same options. The more people click on the links, the less results will appear next time and overall, the options will slowly fade away.

(Not sure if I can actually create this, in theory it seems possible but I probably would need a lot of help.)
Sketch: what would be an information that I would want to keep private, yet want to exist? (online data - passwords.. etc) maybe something about ephemerality of memory/ constancy of online data?
Concept 4: Writing on Water

Recently I’ve been thinking about the phrase Writing on water, which in the English language means doing an act that is passing, fleeting. In Turkish, the phrase also exists (Suya yazı yazmak) but has a slightly different meaning: An act that is futile. In this project, I take both meanings on account, combine them as a communication method of the things I don’t want to communicate. By writing the memories that I don’t talk about on a paper with water, I set them out for people to see but only for a couple of seconds before they evaporate and disappear forever. It doesn’t only require labor from the writer but also the reader: this mimics the sharing of intimate/though/hard-to-tell memories that both sides have to work on. After the pages are dry, it’s impossible to tell what it had once said; but they are left with the impressions of water damaging them, showing the affects of the memories.