We conceptualise the internet in relation to the cloud – it’s intangible, in-between, un-locatable and sprawling. Yet when we talk about cyberspace, it’s in geo-spacial terms as sites, locations, spaces and places. Cursor explores the physicality of cyberspace and its liminality, examining how a perceived liberation from materiality allows participants to crossdress, transgress and collaborate, forming their own communities of practice, and experiment with individual identities. Everything we do is data. Every act generates records, data, information. Our online blogs and digital artwork sit alongside our mundane google searches, receipts and metadata. Cursor uses found words, imagery and ideas to blur the line between data, content and art, as well as creativity and automation.
Amie Green (25) is an artist, writer and editor whose work explores queer digital identities. She has been published in Voiceworks and sat on their editorial committee from 2018 to 2020, and has exhibited with the George Paton Gallery and Illustrators Australia. She is currently completing a Habbo Hotel themed thesis at the University of Melbourne. Find more of her mixed-media artworks and words @amiesgreenart on Instagram.
CURSORContent warnings: blood/gore, death (animals), sex (depictions)
Cursor investigates the nature of virtual subjecthood using found words, imagery and ideas to blur the line between data, content and art, and between memories and archives. It features three concurrent streams – prose poetry, found rhetoric and searches, and fragments of academic theories, all of which eventually overlap. Cursor discusses the immateriality of the physical world and the materiality of the online world. It argues that online participation is akin to bird watching – participation is everywhere and subjects are liminal and fleeting. And virtual subjects are textual – everywhere and nowhere all at once.
Birds fly above me in formation
<do birds always have eggs in them?/>
I think about how little the eggs
must be in little birds, like all little girls
light of foot and lithe as feathers.
When I was a little girl I carried rocks
in my pockets, like jewels
polished in my school skirt in the washing machine
like the >B>B>B>B of a ball bearing gun against tin fence.
I’d hold the chipped concrete up to the sun and watch
the rainbow refract in the webs between fingers.
I thought I’d found moon rocks, matrixes of colours
for my eyes only.
Mum told me that we can’t all take sand from the beach
because there will be nothing left. We should only have what hides
in-between our toes without express permission.
Picked out on the way home, gathering in the voids of the car, or shaken
out of the car mats on the lawn on Monday morning.
I buried the rocks for safekeeping
under the stilts under my house.
I liked the lines of vertical Vs that gulls type into the sand.
<why do so many gulls have one foot?/>
Maybe they do have both feet, they’re just holding one
to their barrel body
to keep warm.
Little girls like watching birds,
all following the same path,
the way they cut
through cloud and sky.
When we talk about the internet, it’s in geo-spacial terms. Addresses, sites, spaces and places.
The other day I read about a little crow that brings a little girl in London gifts.
Metal plastic beads bits.
I want a crow to deliver me a metal helix. I want to feed crows peanuts and have them protect me as I bundle a bouquet in my cottage garden.
Or any bird really
a whole flock
Sparrows that would weave me silk
ribbon pink lace dress with a big bustle
and bow between my collarbones.
Mum told me that if I feed the magpies mincemeat their beaks rot.
<bird toes legs/>
extra toe tag toe pad stink toggle tag nipple toe
<why do seagulls have only one leg/>
I watch seagulls lounge on the dunes
siphoning from unattended bags
or picking at butcher’s paper between hands
and think about when I was little and a little
fascinated with the tiny
U bones I’d unearth near the boardwalk.
What little dinosaur did this belong to?, I’d think,
although looking back at it now
it was probably an 8-piece plastic bucket.
Have you ever suckled on plastic and cut the fringe
underneath your tongue?
I used to chew on plastic
and Mum told me that she never breastfed cause the first-time I gummed her nipple so hard it bled.
I guess things
don’t have to be sharp to cut.
We are generators of data, continuously generating and contributing to a sprawling cloud of information. We live in a world of data-saturation, where everything we do is data. Our digital art sits alongside our google searches, receipts and metadata, indistinguishable.
The other day I read an article about teenagers who fed laxatives to seagulls in England.
They shit on a man, a baby and a guy on rollerblades.
I probably should start birdwatching as a hobby. Maybe it’ll bring me
I watch a baby in a white gown being held up
like a lampshade
in the church carpark.
<feeding seagulls Panadol explosion/>
<uncooked rice pigeons/>
I watch two little too-little girls in broad big school hats
dresses with pointed peaked collars
Once I was a little girl and so was my mother and her mother. Maybe one day I’ll have a wife and a daughter. And more daughters
we can adopt a whole flock
raise them in fields and hills and name them after wildflowers.
Maybe I just want to be
<why do birds fly in Vs/>
My housemate asks me if I’ve ever actually seen a dead bird. He says that the virus isn’t real, the government just needed time to replace the batteries in the birds.
But I have seen a sparrow
in the gutter, severed –
maybe a car door or a sweet sweeper –
but still hanging on
connected by a knotted yellow ribbon
spreading like broken yolk.
I wanted to pick it up, hold it to my breast and nurse it
back to vigour
but decided it was too gross to touch.
My house has tall ceilings with big mirrors.
I haven’t seen myself this in-depth for a long time.
I bend over
backwards and inspect inside myself.
It’s the new scars >folds >heaviness >freckles >friction >burns
that keep time.
I hang the periods of my life up
as ill-fitting clothes in the back of the cupboard;
a triptych of before > during > after.
But there’s no after, suddenly one day you’re not a girl anymore.
Everything inside of you is pulled
even your own blood.
And it feels like a problem,
but your mother will just shrug and pat you on the
because it’s now.
Build something, be something. Our online selves are characters, produced and multiplying in endless textuality.
<do we get shorter as we get older?/>
I remember looking at concave chest in a mirror. My little nipples looked like buttons, beady, teddy bear eyes. My belly line made my body look like a stoic face.
When I’m a girl I look at other little girls. I look like other little girls.
<girl on girl/>
My Oma pinched my ‘childbearing’ hips as I stared at a pan of prawns
and I realise my body has begun spreading itself without
my express permission.
<am I gay/>
<Buzzfeed ‘How Gay Are You?’ test/>
<gay tests accuracy/>
In virtual worlds, we are liminal. Our selves multiply endlessly – both exposed and anonymous. We share our private selves in public spaces, and our public selves in private spaces.
Birds fly in V formation
because it conserves energy. Each bird flies
slightly above the bird in front of them, resulting in less wind resistance. Birds take turns being in front, falling back when they’re tired. This way they fly for longer before they must stop for rest.
If we are just repeating what’s already been said, why can’t a computer do this too? Machines are more and more capable of complex cognition, so the keyboard comes to seem an extension of one’s thoughts rather than an external device on which one types. Embodiment then takes the form of extended cognition, in which human agency and thought are enmeshed within larger networks that extend beyond the virtual and into physical reality.
Vs are spread wings folding
through the sky.
I want to be a baby. A pebble. Smooth and just one on a beach of seaglass midderns.
but hurts underfoot.
Maybe I should start walking
barefoot on the beach to get used to the pain.
I’ll walk backwards on the beach and watch my footprints pixelate and dissolve into the wind
whipping the sand up so I can see the direction
of the wind.
Lichen clings to beach rocks like tassels
Salt crystal glass rooms ball
rooms and the good china.
When I kept rocks
in my pocket, whenever I felt
my hand curled around it
tight, bloody tulip.
I sit on the beach and watch waves
roll towards me like lagging pixels,
glitching and changing direction with the wind. Dead
pixels. I tuck my legs underneath me to keep warm.
I want to be a floating orb
that just follows the V V V V Vs already stamped into the sand
I want to keep my mass inside my house
>inside a bed
>>inside a room
>>>inside a house
>>>>>for my hands only<<<<<
I blocked out my window with bamboo
and found a baby sparrow nestled within
limp. I slid it in a hole in the fence
but it kept reappearing. I keep my window shut
to seal the sweet smell out.
I accidentally ran over it once
with my lawnmower. It cut into my leg, the bits of bone feathers guts innards.
Digital writers now resemble more a programmer than a tortured genius, brilliantly conceptualizing, constructing, executing, and maintaining a writing machine. Writers are moving language around, and readers are being emotionally moved by that process.
It’s easy to want to be
Eyes closed, no feathers, happily nourished
It’s easy to joke about wanting the return
to the warm saline
womb, wound to a Mother, floating saline sea.
I think I forget how scary it is
to be a kid. I used to have a lot of tantrums. I never quite got it. I always lacked it. That thing that you’re supposed to have
the feeling of having your feet on the ground.
The feeling of trying on hand-me-down shoes and they already are the shape of your feet.
Not having to wear soft band aids
as a toe rings.
<why do birds have toes on the backs of their feet?/>
<white socks busty girls/>
<are we what we share online?/>
Sometimes I think that I think
Google knows more
about me than me.
Internet writing collapses the distinction between art and artist as the point is that the individual is what they share online.
Birds sing in the morning to announce
that they’ve made it through the night.
>>>>>>I’m still here! <<<<<<
5 6 7 8
I sit on street and watch the babies outside the church. I want to snatch them, wheel their strollers away, take them somewhere else. Take them for ice cream at the beach, swaddle them under lace parasols.
I want the skin to grow back
over their eyes
until they are ready to open them to the world.
I want to nurse them, but I’m not sure if I want to save them, or just have a smaller thing,
in my image,
whole and smooth
pink and tender.
The thing about fear is that it goes on forever.
The older you get the more
Like old school uniforms that you don’t have the heart
to let go.
In the digital age, everything can be poetry.
Poetry is the most extreme use of language – evoking the most using the least. The pathways between signifier and signified are the longest.
I look back at old
pictures in photo albums
trying to arrange images
but the edges don’t match
Poems are fields of data, permuted by authors and readers. Digital artwork explores the potential of the cloud, attempting to provide meaningful connections across seemingly dissonant information.
<where are all the dead birds/>
There was a church near my house growing up.
I remember once seeing a man
leaning against the bricks getting a blowie
WOOHOO! we screamed
plastic bags for car windows.
<do you ever feel like plastic/>
<do you every feel like a plastic bag floating/>
<do you ever feel like a plastic bag floating through the wind, wanting to start again/>
<Katy Perry lyrics/>
The move to use everything in found language poetry and digital forms reinvents our image of authorial control and contribution. Digital authors now curate, reappropriate and collaborate.
Whenever I drink wine I end up
spitting it at someone
spitting on someone
at some point. I think that’s a thing cute girls do in porn and I want to be a cute girl.
on their thumbs
on his toes.
Freud said feet are phallic.
Penfield said that feet are nerve centres.
I scream when I stub my toe.
Like a directionless Sim with cancelled actions
I walk into objects and my tits get stuck in the doorframe
because I don’t know the edges.
I have sex with my housemate and watch
him through the mirrors at either side of the bed,
flat arse in inifite mirror.
We stop, I think
I can hear my phone ringing.
But it’s not ringing.
I keep looking for the source of the ringing.
But my feet are flat
and air hits
hard. I feel it pressing > IN < on me.
<is gravity a type of air?/>
Less than more ><>< sand is imprinted with diamonds the size of the space between my kid thumb and kid forefinger
The French gillemet << looks like dancing legs or knees or two toes
<< means binary left shift
the jaws are the widest part of the symbol and always point to the larger thing
<where are all the dead birds/>
do they just >respawn
squeaky clean babies in bubble baths
Freud says a lot of things and
I’m scared of feet and men.
Big birds fly in the gulley
and peaks and troughs and
somewhere less flat than where I am.
Once a bird dropped a little tub of sweet and sour sauce onto my head outside. It didn’t feel like all that much.
<does 5G kill birds/>
<5G hundreds birds killed experiment Netherlands/>
Sometimes it feels like the wind is so strong it will blow the sky away and I don’t know why.
<I’m still here!!!!!!/>
One of my first kid memories is being at school really early one morning,
watching the fog
rolling down the hill>me.
a big white barn owl poked its head out of the tree
to offer me a quest.
Young people are doing more screen reading than ever before, while the reading of print books – specifically novels and plays – has been steadily declining over the last 20 years. Digital storytelling is often talked about as oppositional to the printed form, driving printed books towards obsolescence. This dialogue surfaces every time a bookstore or publishing house closes. Anti-internet rhetoric frames the social web is an echo-chamber for narcissism, ignorance, and information overload.
I’ve been dropped here with no context.
I just want to fly
as the crow flies, one point to another
uninterrupted and parallel.
But it’ll be okay, my housemate says
that one day all the birds will fall
back wards out the sky!