The Hexting Project is a series of three visual essays produced by thirty contributing artists. Developed during lockdown as a way to make contact with other artists via social media and connect in a way that reflected the sense of isolation and remoteness we were all experiencing at the time.
The essays are generated by text message, each beginning with an image and source text written by me; a short paragraph containing underlying themes such as anthropocentricism, autonomy, and interconnectedness. Reacting only to the previous text (think Chinese whispers) the artist’s responses are quick and intuitive and, when viewed sequentially begin to suggest a collective consciousness or even a morphic resonance, with similar patterns resonating throughout the series.
Communicating exclusively via our mobile phones worked as a metaphor for systems found in nature (how exchanging information and viruses via the internet mimics a root system or parasitic plant.) I also wanted to explore the notion of idea cross-pollination – like a bee visiting multiple flowers. The project considers the significance of the mobile phone as a ritualistic object, images and texts generating digital incantations that reflect our shared unease at global events.
What started out as an experimental series of interactions between a small group of artists became a longer-term project with a rolling contributor list and continues to generate interest through a dedicated Instagram page @hextinguserhub.
After a summer hiatus the final essay completes its cycle in October 2020. There will also be a short article about the project in the October issue of the Book Arts Newsletter.
I'm currently looking for funding to produce a paper version.
List of contributors:
Sam Pickett, Jayne Simpson, Keeley Bentley, Beata Podstawa, David Mackintosh, Steph Shipley, Bonnie Craig, Amy Stretch-Parker, Sarah Feinmann, Julie Mayer, Paula Fenwick-Lucas, Ruth Warman, Julia Swarbrick, Leo, Ann Carragher, Mat Birchall, Fern Nicholas, Ola Dabrowska, Abigail Barton, Steph Fletcher, Carolyn Morton, Roberta Cialfi, Jessica Earle, Lauren Sagar, Thea Luckcock, Sovay Berriman, Kerry Tenby, Jane Fairhurst, Maisy Bliss, Jocelyn McGregor, Laura Harrison.
The essays are available to view at https://hextingproject.cargo.site/HEXTING-ESSAY-HOME-PAGE