TBA CONVERSATION: Away from Keyboard

I will be giving a public lecture about Identify Yourself on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 12:30PM @ PICA.


There are two sides to this story: one is a scattered history of different parts of the relationship between computers and identity, the second a more personal account of my arrival into this particular space.These stories inform each other and both contribute to my view of a larger network of Internet artists.These artists are part of a system I have both observed and participated in. My views are skewed, my history mine, but I can’t help but want to share how fascinating I find the world at the present moment. My internet history. My written history. Our history.

This website is a history. This book is a history. One can be added to ad infinitum, the other is a more finite form. What new forms will our histories begin to take?

Books available at the Conway building during TBA, also available online.


Kristan Kennedy, visual arts curator for PICA and TBA, came to teach a contemporary art history course at Portland State University in my last year there, and I was thrilled to take it. We created a Google Group for the course and read PDF essays and ar ticles, while in class we watched YouTube and UbuWeb videos of contemporary artworks. It was the first time in my education that the class was conducted in a manner which reflected my own Internet learning style. We could rapidly shift topics, going down rabbit holes of related artists. I did all my assignments as simple html pages.The culmination of that course led to me writing a 20 page paper which took the form of a website.

Writing this essay about these Internet artists whose work I had followed online felt like the merging of two separate parts of my life, the art historian bit with the Internet nerd girl. I ended up coming back to Kristan’s class last year to speak about these artists and getting in a little debate with an Internet defector who somehow failed to see the human-ness of the www. I tried to impart my side, to open his eyes to what I had seen, what I thought was plainly visible. I’m not sure that it worked, but it deepened an ongoing conversation I was having throughout various parts of my life.

When Kristan asked me to do a project for TBA, she told me that this writing, these hypertext documents, were my life’s work. And somehow, I hadn’t quite seen that yet, but now it is starting to make more sense. Because behind every sentence of this project, there are 1,000 more that I haven’t had time to write down yet. These ideas keep expanding and solidifying, and perhaps someday will become something more cohesive and academic. But for now, it feels right to put them back into the system that has inspired all of this excitement and thought in the first place, back whence it came.


Krystal South is a multidisciplinary artist, designer, and writer from Portland, Oregon who has been online every day since she was 12. South has been included in group exhibitions and projects at Recess Gallery, Carhole Gallery, and Portland Art Museum, as well as in B.Y.O.B. at New American Art Union and Wieden+Kennedy in Portland. Her writings have been featured in Bear Deluxe Magazine, YA5, and September, a project of artists Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulsen at the 2011 TBA Festival.


This project could not have been completed without generous support of both Portland Institute for Contemporary Art and The Calligram Foundation for New Works, and the guidance and faith of Kristan Kennedy. This project would be in shambles if not for the editorial assistance of John Motley and web services of Simon Vansintjan and Gabe Paez. General ongoing thanks to all of Citizen, Inc., Annette Thurston, J.B. Daniel, Krist Wood, Snowden, my family, Lay’s Chips, Pepsi Co., Facebook, Apple Computers, and the entire Internet and all my friends that I have found there.

In memory of Daniel L. Williams, Kamden Vencill, and Snaxx.