Wasting Time on the Internet is a new creative writing class at Penn this spring. Poet Kenneth Goldsmith hopes “clicking, SMSing, status-updating, and random surfing” can be “used as raw material for creating compelling and emotional works of literature.”
“Students will be required to stare at the screen for three hours, only interacting through chat rooms, bots, social media and listservs,” the course descriptions states. “Distraction, multi-tasking, and aimless drifting is mandatory.”
They’ll also read “critical texts” about boredom, “affect theory, ASMR, situationism and everyday life,” the course description states.
Distraction can unleash creativity, Goldstein tells Jason Koebler on Motherboard.
He’s tired of reading New York Times articles “that make us feel bad about spending so much time on the internet, about dividing our attention so many times,” he told Koebler. “I think it’s complete bullshit that the internet is making us dumber. I think the internet is making us smarter.”
“Electronic distraction and multitasking is the new surrealism,” Goldstein argues. “Surrealists wanted to get unconscious, well, we’re doing that now all the time.”