Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Penn prof brings back controversial 'Wasting Time on the Internet' course - Michael Tanenbaum, Philly Voice

Ken Goldsmith, a distinguished poet and professor of English, will reprise his famed "Wasting Time on the Internet" course for the Fall 2016 Semester. The class, inspired by the radical legacy of the Situationist movement, debuted in 2014 after Goldsmith announced his experimental intentions in a piece for The New Yorker. For three hours a week, fifteen students met in a Wi-Fi connected room on condition that all of their communication take place online: chat rooms, bots, social media and listservs. Nothing is off limits: if it is on the Internet, it is fair play. Students watching three hours of porn can use it as the basis for compelling erotica; they can troll nefarious right-wing sites, scraping hate-filled language for spy thrillers; they can render celebrity Twitter feeds into epic Dadaist poetry; they can recast Facebook feeds as novellas; or they can simply hand in their browser history at the end of a session and present it as a memoir. You may be thinking, "Yeah, that's kind of what I did in college, anyway," but Goldsmith is pursuing a larger argument about the evolution of literature and the effects of its antecedents on digital mass culture.

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