Kenneth Goldsmith


Goldsmith's practice of conceptual writing reaches online as easily as it does into print, but it begins with Goldsmith imagining provocative writing challenges — and it follows through when he actually executes the project he has thought up. "The most boring writer that has ever lived" (as Goldsmith has called himself) has retyped a day's New York Times (Day) and typed up a year's worth of weather reports (The Weather). In the digital Soliloquy, he plunders his own words, offering a web version of a book edition of a gallery installation of a week's worth of his spoken language.

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Author description: Soliloquy is an unedited document of every word I spoke during the week of April 15-21, 1996, from the moment I woke up Monday morning to the moment I went to sleep on Sunday night. To accomplish this, I wore a hidden voice-activated tape recorder. I transcribed Soliloquy during the summer of 1996 at the Chateau Bionnay in Lacenas, France, during a residency there. It took 8 weeks, working 8 hours a day. Soliloquy was first realized as a gallery exhibition at Bravin Post Lee in Soho during April of 1997. Subsequently, the gallery published the text in a limited edition of 50. In the fall of 2001, Granary Books published a trade edition of the text. The web version of Soliloquy contains the exact text from the 281-page original book version, but due to the architecture of the web, each chapter is sub-divided into 10 parts. And, of course, the textual treatment of the web version is indeed web-specific and perhaps more truly references the ephemerality of language as reflected by the book's epigraph: "If every word spoken in New York City daily / were somehow to materialize as a snowflake, / each day there would be a blizzard." In order to achieve this effect, the web version is available only to users of Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape 6+. Unfortunately, none of the prior versions of Netscape support the CSS tag used here: "a { text-decoration: none }" ; to view the piece in web form without this function enabled would be to ruin the intended experience of this work.

Instructions: Select a day by clicking on it. Move the mouse to reveal one sentence of the text at a time. Click on the links at the top to choose a different one of the ten sections for a day, or to choose a different day, or to search the text. Those reading this piece from CD will need an Internet connection to use "Search." Note that if you use the search function, the results will direct you off the Electronic Literature Collection site to the version of Soliloquy hosted at the Electronic Poetry Center.

Previous publication: The web version of Soliloquy was published on the State University of New York at Buffalo's Electronic Poetry Center in 2002,

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