Sk8monkey, Twitter’s wreckage by Jodi


Misusing technological tools and languages has been a trademark for (Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans) since the mid-nineties, when they emerged as the pioneers of a movement which later became internationally known as Starting by applying this creative strategy to browsers, subverting websurfing logics and hacking the graphic interface, they then moved to videogames and finally to the so-called Web 2.0, deconstructing platforms such as Blogger, Google Maps and now Twitter. The performance Sk8monkey was held last May in Dordrecht, (Netherlands), as a part of 2009, the second edition of a festival curated by the artists themselves. During the event, a group of skaters used wheeled wireless keyboards instead of regular boards. Keyboards were connected to a number of computers logged-on to a Twitter account, which was subsequently overloaded with nonsense “tweets”, made solely of random characters. The action, documented by photos and videos, quickly led to the destruction – maybe accidental at the beginning – of the keyboards, in a sort of playful, liberating final act. This performance addresses multiple issues. What we can see at a first glance is a sort of “punk attitude” and a conscious exploration of what might be called an aesthetics of collapse, but the act of denying the language in its own space (the unreadable tweets) is equally central. Also, the name chosen for the Twitter account (Sk8monkey) evokes the famous “infinite monkey theorem”, which states that if an infinite number of monkeys could hit random keys on a typewriter for an infinite period of time, eventually one will give birth to a literature masterpiece. Maybe stamping on a keyboard forever would sooner or later generate a comprehensible tweet.

Valentina Tanni