Writing Space

Pictures by Gregory L. Ulmer, Words by K. A. Wisniewski

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Gregory L. Ulmer is Professor Emeritus of English and Media Studies at the University of Florida. He is the author most recently of KONSULT: Theopraxesis (2019), Electracy (2015) and Avatar Emergency (2012).

K. A. Wisniewski is the Director of Book History and Digital Initiatives at the American Antiquarian Society. He is the Managing Editor of Textshop Experiments.

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This section begins what I hope will become a new series to the journal, a space that opens into multiple spaces, each offering a glimpse into artists’ or scholars’ office and alcove, into their storage, their stacks, and their spaces of work, labor, play, and perhaps slumber.

I spent the summer packing (and unpacking) my own offices (at the university and at home). Although a few photos of these activities were taken (mostly as text message progress reports to my wife), by the time this issue was being released—and still now as the summer comes to an end—I didn’t want to look at another (empty, folded or filled) box, bin, crate, cart, or random pile of paints or papers.

And so I am grateful to Gregory L. Ulmer for loaning me his work space for this introduction.

Scene: I open my account, click on GLU’s email, scroll down, download —> to the Downloads folder and open … In the foreground, furniture over-flows with notebooks, folders and files of paper—a copy of Konsult hides on top of the bottom shelf. More boxes to the front and sides. Boxes stacked on top of boxes. Déjà vu. The first time it’s viewed I’m surrounded by its near-mirror image. And then the game begins: How many books can I identify? Zoom. Zoom again. Increasingly pixelated. How are these collections organized? What’s written on the covers and tabs of folders? What’s missing on the double-stacked shelves to the left? What’s GLU working on now? Should I send him another email today and ask? What time is displayed on the clock hanging on the wall in the background? I still hadn’t hung our own clock yet. Ticking away in box.

I look once more before saving this for later. Its message flashes hard in the cool blue “ART,” the warm red “ANYwhere,” and the ambivalent yellow “UNPOPULAR.”

I close the screen and continue unpacking.