Thursday, March 12, 2009

Twitter and the Twittering Machine

Twitter has given all new meaning to one of my favorite Paul Klee works of art, Twittering Machine. Like all of Klee's work, the titles are so important. Done in 1922, the work is a transfer drawing with oil, ink, and watercolor on paper on board with gouache, ink, and pencil. I just love how Klee used so many different media, exploiting them all and pushing them and the paper to its limits. But I doubt he ever imagined a social networking tool "for staying connected in real time" called Twitter. The MOMA in NY ( where it lives) has this to say about Twittering Machine:

The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 127

The "twittering" in the title doubtless refers to the birds, while the "machine" is suggested by the hand crank. The two elements are, literally, a fusing of the natural with the industrial world. Each bird stands with beak open, poised as if to announce the moment when the misty cool blue of night gives way to the pink glow of dawn. The scene evokes an abbreviated pastoral—but the birds are shackled to their perch, which is in turn connected to the hand crank.

Upon closer inspection, however, an uneasy sensation of looming menace begins to manifest itself. Composed of a wiry, nervous line, these creatures bear a resemblance to birds only in their beaks and feathered silhouettes; they appear closer to deformations of nature. The hand crank conjures up the idea that this "machine" is a music box, where the birds function as bait to lure victims to the pit over which the machine hovers. We can imagine the fiendish cacophony made by the shrieking birds, their legs drawn thin and taut as they strain against the machine to which they are fused."

Now, I could make a lot of comparisons here between Twitter and the MOMA explanation of Klee's work, but what I am really thinking is, do I really want to join Twitter? Do I really want to be shackled to the perch of tweeting about what I am doing 24/7? I mean, who really cares? Isn't it just "bait to lure me to the pit over which the machine hovers"? I already feel fused with my computer just from work and blogging. Here are some one line comments I found left by folks who are trying to navigate the new world of Twitter: (I did not make these up)

How do I post a tweet?

testing twitter...

testing, testing

am i tweeting?

facebook is easier


More confusing than facebook.

How do you talk to whoever you want?

Still figuring this all out.

I feel old.

I feel old too.

I feel old too, but advance. Always advance!

Sorry, I still don't get it.

At this point, I am laughing so hard my sides hurt. All this and I have not even mentioned all the apps there are for Twitter like BigTweet, Chirp and Chitter for Ichat, Squawk, Twit, Twoot, and Twitterfox just to name a few ( I swear!) So at least I am not alone. Hey, maybe it's better to exploit the medium, push it to it's limits,..who knows what will come of it. So, I'm in. I joined Twitter,... but I feel old.

Here is a beginner's guide for those who want to "advance":)

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