My name is Enrica, and I am a contemporary jewellery artist. Today you are going to visit a contemporary jewellery exhibition.
“Contemporary” as in contemporary art; “jewellery” in the widest and wildest sense, as in “things that go on the body” and/or are body related. You might have never heard of it before, and that's fine: it’s a pretty specific field.
You enter the place where the exhibition is hosted, and find yourself in a [[trace "place"]]; you look around, and you see [[trace "visitor"]].
You might wonder, how I got from making things that go on the body, to making generative text?
"Stop thinking about art works as objects, and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences." Roy Ascott
Sometimes the starting point of a project is the kind of experience I want to create; sometimes it is something else, but thinking about the experience is something that always happens during the process.
You get close to the jewellery display and [[trace "adv"]] [[trace "verb"]] a piece that is [[trace "size"]]. You get closer, to a have a look at this [[trace "Jewel"]].
In this case, I wanted to create an experience that was playful, familiar to the people who have an interest in the field, is always different, but also feels like it’s always the same. By using text only, in a boring format (Verdana, black text on a white background, on a laptop, not a custom-made installation) I leave space for the reader to project their own personal version of whatever random combination was generated especially for them.
You move on to the next piece; this one is [[trace "size"]]. You [[trace "adv"]] [[trace "verb"]] [[trace "Jewel.a"]].
I’ve seen it happens in different fields, and I’ve experienced it myself several times : you discover something that’s new to you, get interested in it, you look out for more, marvelling at the existing variety of methods, techniques, outputs, things that can be done within that field. You keep looking for more, keeping up with what’s happening, looking back at the history of that subject. And after a while ( maybe months, maybe years, maybe decades) you start feeling that, yes, endless variations exist, but it mostly feels like more of the same old thing and it’s really rare that you are truly surprised.
The next one is [[trace "size"]]. You [[trace "adv"]] [[trace "verb"]] it: it appears to be [[trace "Jewel.a"]].
“Yet another contemporary jewellery exhibition” is a text-based interactive installation that takes the form of a procedurally-generated text on a webpage, describing a visit to a hypothetical exhibition. The only interaction possible for the visitor is to refresh the page, creating a new version and forever erasing the previous one.
You move forward to look at one more piece, [[trace "size.a"]] [[trace "Jewel"]].
Narrated from a second-person point of view, it briefly describes the experience of a visitor entering the gallery space, looking at the exhibited jewellery pieces and, finally, briefly examining the feelings towards contemporary jewellery elicited by this visit.
You reach the last piece of this small exhibition: you [[trace "adv"]] [[trace "verb"]] [[trace "size.a"]] [[trace "Jewel"]].
I have used Twine 1.4.2 because I like Jonah as a format, and at first I thought that showing one paragraph at a time would create an experience closer to the one of being in a gallery and looking at one artwork after the other. However “Yet another contemporary jewellery exhibition” was going to be actually shown in a gallery, and the gallerist agreed with me that, in this case, that was redundant. So you get all the text at once. I used Twinecery for the generative part, and I found it way more forgiving than straight up Tracery.
You exit the place and stop briefly to consider what you have just seen.
It is a way to playfully explore my sometimes conflicting feelings towards this field: the enthusiasm and the energy and the ingenuity that often permeate self-organized shows; the feeling of information overload after visiting several exhibitions in a row during jewellery weeks; the excitement of working on a new project; the feeling of dread that everything has already been done, better than I will ever be able to.
After this visit, you feel that you [[trace "lovehate"]] contemporary jewellery.