About the Project


Twitter has expanded the definition of public space, providing a rich environment where—140 characters at a time—revolutions are organized, the banalities of everyday life are shared, and artists create site-specific interventions. Creative Time Tweets, a series of three commissioned Twitter performances, explores Twitter as a viable place for art that engages audiences, promotes dialogue, and intersects with the physical world. Using Twitter as both an artistic tool and a site for public performance, Man Bartlett, David Horvitz, and Jill Magid will carry out projects in collaboration with their audiences that unfold as Twitter streams.

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Curated by Shane Brennan

Man Bartlett:

May 25–26, 2011

Man Bartlett, #24hPort, 2011

Man Bartlett, #24hPort, 2011

Beginning at 5pm on May 25, 2011, Man Bartlett (@manbartlett) will spend twenty-four consecutive hours inside New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal. During this time, he will ask two questions—“Where have you been?” and “Where are you going?”—of people following the project online and those he encounters in person, and collect their stories. While the artist navigates the terminal’s vast and complex architecture, Port Authority’s 168 gates will serve as points of departure for a series of conversations about the relationship between memory and geography.

Through this dialogue, #24hPort aims to connect two audiences: physical passers-by in Port Authority and the artist’s geographically dispersed Twitter followers. The project will also explore the roles of both the transportation system—in which the terminal, and New York City more broadly, are major hubs—and emerging, online social platforms like Twitter in facilitating cultural exchange. The project’s Twitter stream will document this endeavor, producing a real-time history of the artist and audience’s collective experience as it unfolds over twenty-four hours.

View a transcript of #24hPort.

David Horvitz: #VadeMecum
(5992. I Will, with Pleasure, Take Letters for You)

June 17–29, 2011

Lewis Hine, Frank Hastings, 107 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, 1917

Lewis Hine, Frank Hastings, 107 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, 1917

The invention of the telegraph in the nineteenth century made it possible to deliver information across spatial distances without the aid of messengers. This development paved the way for Twitter, among other modern communication technologies. But what was lost in the radical disappearance of the message’s physical journey? To explore this question, David Horvitz (@davidhorvitz) will produce a hard copy of every tweet containing the hashtag #VadeMecum (Latin for “Go with me” and meaning a reference book designed to be carried) between June 17 and June 23. On June 24, he will carry the materialized tweets by train from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., following the route of the first transcontinental telegram (sent in 1861 from San Francisco to President Lincoln in the nation’s capital). Upon arrival in Washington, D.C., the entire collection will be submitted to the Library of Congress and donated to a public archive, where it will remain accessible.

During the trip, Horvitz will tweet his own observations and reflections on the journey, as well as on the history of communication technologies, by sampling from A.C. Baldwin’s 1853 book The Traveler’s Vade Mecum; or Instantaneous Letter Writer, by Mail or Telegraph, for the Convenience of Persons Traveling on Business or for Pleasure, and for Others, Whereby a Vast Amount of Time, Labor, and Trouble is Saved, which contains 8,466 prefabricated sentences intended to aid travelers in sending letters home by telegraph. The sentences each carry a numerical code that allowed writers to construct longer messages within the limited information capacity of the then-new medium.

Through the project, Horvitz will give his audience’s tweets literal and metaphorical weight. Serving as an anachronistic messenger in an era in which distance is no longer an obstacle to communication, Horvitz will re-engage with the relatively slow pace of the physical journey as a meaningful and transformative phase in the life of the message.

View a transcript of #VadeMecum.

The Traveler’s Vade Mecum is legally in the public domain, and can be viewed and downloaded here.

Jill Magid:

Beginning August 5, 2011

A compilation of televised news coverage of the Texas State Capitol shooting on January 21, 2010.

At 12:15 p.m. on January 21, 2010, 24-year-old Fausto Cardenas fired several shots from a small caliber handgun into the air on the southern steps of the Texas State Capitol in Austin. No motive has been established. He faces charges of a third degree felony: deadly conduct and terrorist threat to a government system. Cardenas had just visited state senator Dan Patrick’s office before the shooting. Patrick, a Republican who represents Houston, said, “The suspect came into my office asking to speak to one of my female staff members. He left and a few minutes later several shots were reportedly fired.” Witnesses told the newspaper they saw a man on the southern steps who was quickly surrounded by the police. “Two guards rushed out. They surrounded this guy,” said Jill Magid of New York. “It looked like a football huddle.” 1

Jill Magid (@jillmagid)— who, oddly enough, was visiting Texas to research snipers — witnessed this mysterious shooting by Fausto Cardenas. Nothing is known of Fausto’s motivations, but his gesture of shooting into the sky from the Capitol steps, in full view of security, reads as a tragic and poetic act. On August 8, 2011, after a year and a half spent waiting in Travis County Jail, Fausto will finally go on trial. Magid, who has been present for each of Fausto’s dockets thus far, will continue to be his witness during the trial, reporting directly from the courtroom in real time via Twitter. Her reporting will weave together the events of the legal proceedings, thematic connections to Goethe’s Faust—the dramatic tale of one man’s fall into immorality—and the media coverage of the shooting. The Twitter stream that is created will become a kind of digital testimony from a witness to an inexplicable crime and the legal system’s attempt to give it closure.

This is the latest chapter in a larger, forthcoming project by Magid, entitled Failed States, inspired by witnessing Fausto Cardenas’ shooting and her Austin-based research into the security measures and survival tactics involved in being an embedded reporter in a war zone.

View a transcript of #FaustosWitness.

1 Paraphrased from reports by The Austin American-Statesman, Fox News, and The Texas Tribune.