Superscript 2015


On May 30, 2015, I participated in Superscript 2015, a conference at Walker Art Center devoted to arts journalism and criticism in the digital age. I gave a talk and participated in a discussion as part of a session called Connectivity and Community, which included
Claudia La Rocco, Ayesha Siddiqi, and Brian Kuan Wood. The prompt asked: “How does a platform create a sense of community around the ideas it presents? What’s the best web infrastructure for fostering responsive arts journalism that encourages valuable, substantive conversations between writers and readers?”

I responded by distinguishing between “community” and “public,” and explaining why I find it helpful to think of Triple Canopy’s work in terms of the latter and not the former. “A community may be foundational to—or may arise from the activities of—a magazine, from its editors and readers and contributors,” I said. “But our motivation has not primarily been to support or dramatically enlarge the community that birthed the magazine and has for the past eight years sustained it. This has to do with the atomization of culture and the way in which the digital economy has come to understand (and profit from) individuals as quantities of relatable data points. It also has to do with the way the word community is used—so often to identify voluntary, non-economic, unequivocally good activities rooted in empathy, kindness, selflessness, belonging; and so often fallaciously.”