Trust and the Internet

Rachel Wolfe
Oct 11 · 4 min read
Nachusa Grasslands near Franklin Grove, Illinois. Photo by: Rachel Wolfe

Time and date stamping has often been a useful tool in creating records for archives. The publishing process used to be arduous with duration and length that edited the notion of a singular origin, in that the author was still working amongst a group-and this cooperation amongst minds would somehow reify the narrative or motive put forth in the public result.

In publishing haikus I wrote on creme coloured paper, in a red covered, staple bound, Fabriano notebook, in 2015, I have been incessantly reminded of the vulgarity of the time and date stamping mechanism on the internet. I publish the poems on my blog, with their mistranslations to Norwegian, then I select some poems and post them on twitter. I doubt the small number of followers notice-because how can someone notice things amonst the pounding flood of information seeking to connect with our attention? Perhaps machine learning and computer programmer scanning the internet will notice a pattern.

Now, I have come to understand the attitude toward first person position as having less weight, value, or significance. The individual, or stories, and messages must have a point. Clarity, however, is something that I distrust as a given-particularly because I have noticed how easy it is to fabricate times and dates. I have also been puzzled by the inherent acceptance of the multitudes of dating systems, and also tend to privilege dating systems that can relate to somehow more physical materials, versus abstract lines — referring to carbon dating versus a Gregorian calendar. Without veering into totalitarian ideas of date systems, I only mention these things, as they are parts of a confluence of world views and narratives that apparently have harboured distrust.

This condition has become apparent because of the relative verbal assaults and accusations popular in media and published forms today. Distrust creates craters, rifts, divides, and traumas.

Empirical experience, I was there, this is what I found, doesn’t seem so bad to me now. I often wonder if the distrust of an individual position, was born of an orchestration, playing a tune under our noses we all started to dance to without question. Communication became about points, sharp ends, objects, and the meaning of communing, coming together was largely lost.

So who is to point out the loss, that hasn’t yet happened, but is slipping-occurring because of individual negligence. This negligence seems to relate to the abdication of responsibility; the individual voice fearing to speak up, and the rise of the violent voices gaining more attention than the peaceful ones.

What is the point? Why does there need to be a point? The question I often wonder about dates and time stamping, trust, is what is the vision-where are our choices and actions, complicit or conscious, leading?

The image above this block of text, requires closer viewing. The brownish spots are bison roaming. Nearby my childhood home, the Nachusa Grasslands have been a conservation effort to recover and heal histories that occurred on those Illinois fields. When I tell friends there are bison roaming beneath nuclear power cooling towers, it sounds like I’m reading from a science fiction novel. But it’s not. It’s real, because people put it there.

In terms of time and date stamping, choices, and understanding ideas and what outcomes they tend to lead to, I have but some small traces-some evidences on film, on paper, transitioning to the digital realm.

I want to do something about the hysteria I’ve witnessed lately-and at times experienced in my body as well, but I don’t always know what. Only 7 years ago, did I set out to undo myths, to understand the signs, subjects, and find the truth about how world histories are transposed, how records and people are manipulated to believe. Belief- is something I had sought to live without which seemed to negate the meaning of words themselves. But it was a logical fallacy, you see. I can still use these small words, with the aid of a dictionary, and the source of 1000s of books to realise, every choice and action can be traced to a motive.

In my artistic practice, I work with the nature of desire. And I look for the desires which are real and which are not. It’s ideologically, perhaps philosophically impossible to locate a desire that wasn’t influenced by media. Every word, image, impression, story becomes the next generations material. And so if we can make up dates, times, events, I worry and understand why there is such a lack of trust.

But if you want to see the poems, and see there are some people (at least this position), that work to deliver what was there-as close to what is, you can contact me, to see the date and time stamps match, and a few professors could attest to this diligence that can seem in vain. What is my point anyway? The point, as I wrote in another essay, is to not have a point unless I needed to hunt to survive. But I don’t. I gratefully, grew up with a hunter. And there are roles for people to speak that don’t need to jab at each other.

To call such aspirations a utopia, means people still distrust. And if we do not believe, what are we left with? Ourselves, connected on illuminated boxes. Individual motives, hiding what they are because they still have a nascent belief desire is sinful and the result of unrestraint will bring about hedonism or chaos. But that hasn’t been true-when there are values such as regrowing a prairie, understanding, eco-systemic thinking, and perhaps looking at how time and date stamping inform the future.

Rachel Wolfe

Artist; represented by The Print Ateliér, Montréal ~ www.rachelwolfe.com

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