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WriteSites: school with no rules

Jo Gray

Jo Gray is currently contemplating her PhD in techno-ontology at University of Western Australia. She was nominated by RealTime for a course generously offered free by trAce.

There are no classrooms in the electrosphere.
There are no Teachers and there are no Students.
(Capital T, capital S). Likewise, there are no rules. Or they are fleeting. Born and broken in a moment of recognition, our rules have become martyrs, in this, the economy of digitisation.
Enter trAce’s Online Writing Programme.

For those of you familiar with trAce, it will come as no surprise that they are among the first to embrace the dawn of electracy, a kind of electric literacy where emphasis is placed on the former component of the word when used in conjunction with the latter, and vice versa. Or to walk a path already trodden—e-literacy, netwurk, wryting, digerati, hypertext.

The fundamental characteristic of electracy, and something trAce has taken to heart, is the instantaneous connectivity explicit in the act of electronic transmission. Or put simply, the physical manifestation of creative energy.

Flirtatious dialogue between 2 strangers who have met (disembodied—in name only) through their love of abstract poetry. Rhizomatic threads of a bustling bulletin board, composed of inroads and exits only. The shape of an idea, its future glimpsed through the tail-tale signs of metamorphosis. These are the new classrooms we inhabit—the imagined space of transient connections.

It was with this in mind that I enrolled in trAce’s inaugural series of Writing Workshops. Here the premise was simple. trAce supplied the space, tools, e-lit celebrities and starting points for conversation. The rest would be decided by the Event of the moment.

This Event, always elsewhere on the textual horizon, drove each of us forward, but in disparate directions. For 8 weeks (and a further 6 days) we were unified by a common desire—to reach our end and then paint the illusion. What began as a relatively small space grew in infinite proportions as each co-conspirator travelled forever outward, taking the centre with them.

This was to be a learning experience I could not have imagined. Once logged onto the school, the catalogue of possibilities began to course through the blood like a drug of addiction. In this space, ideas were encouraged to reach fruition. I was simultaneously a writer, a teacher, a voyeur and a pupil—a fly on the wall of imagination. These roles, which shifted along an axis of rhetorical experimentation, founded the idea of a neoteric community. Our bodies slipped in and out of disguise as we opened our minds to a hypertextual consciousness.

I would like to thank trAce for securing a parcel of empty space on the electronic frontier, to be filled with the effects of the imagination. For nurturing this fragile block in its embryonic stages and for testing its boundaries in infancy and beyond.

Through trAce’s noble duty to creativity and connectivity, I feel that I have glimpsed the first stages of a burgeoning entity. A school with no rules, or rules that belong only to the individual. A school that nurtures independent thought through the very nature of its infinite flexibility. And a school that resides only in the imagination, made real through the desire to speak and made better through our ability to listen.


Go to the trAce website for more information, or to enrol in their online writing courses

Jo Gray is currently contemplating her PhD in techno-ontology at University of Western Australia. She was nominated by RealTime for a course generously offered free by trAce.

RealTime issue #45 Oct-Nov 2001 pg. 23

© Jo Gray; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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