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Tabloid response

(Note: A similar approach may be applied to other media - periodicals, the bourgeois press, internet news portals, etc.)

  1. Buy a tabloid for a month or any other longer period.
  2. Devise a method to randomly select a page based on frequency of viewing (i.e., the front page should have a much higher chance of being selected than say, page 6). (An alternative coarser approach would be to use the front page only.)
  3. Devise a method (technically, a distribution) to select randomly a certain quadrant (of perhaps two columns width and the same height) of the selected page, all quadrants having an equal chance of being selected.
  4. Test (e.g., by trying to respond as described below to a test quadrant) whether the quadrant should better 'snap to the grid' of columns, or overlap.
  5. On every day that you buy a paper, select a quadrant by the chosen method, and scan or photograph the quadrant at a resolution fit for 1:1 reproduction. (Copyright issues may need to be sorted out; search for "visual quote" or similar.)
  6. Test whether it makes sense
  7. Find a format (print, online? Both?) in which to place the quadrant opposite a response area. Determine whether the response should be restricted to a certain length or run as long as it may take. If freeform is chosen the risk is that it turns into an essay with a triggering illustration.
  8. Respond to the quadrant. An experiment is necessary to determine whether it will be possible or meaningful to respond, and whether both quadrant and response make any sense a day later, or to other people. Check out the 'Bild' weblog (forgot the name) for a different kind of responding.
  9. Evaluate rules for responding, such striving for some semblance of immediacy (it need not be 'automatic writing'); setting a time frame for responding, to avoid responses becoming overly elaborate or contorted; or avoiding the obvious voice of criticism aimed at the ideology of the tabloid, its intention to abuse, exploit, obfuscate, detract, etc. (But who is going to detect this in the very instance of responding?)
  10. Evaluate whether bypassing such obvious levers for critique falls prey to implicit affirmation or aesteticism, or serves as excuse for navel-gazing (results may be good nevertheless).
  11. Collect quadrants, date, respond. Evaluate, adapt or abandon approach.
  12. Publish somehow.
Last update: 12 April 2005 | Impressum—Imprint