KENNETH GOLDSMITH WANTS YOU TO RETHINK THE INTERNET . . .
Many people feel guilty after spending hours watching cat videos or clicking link after link after link. But renowned conceptual artist and poet Kenneth Goldsmith sees that “wasted” time differently. Unlike old media, the Internet demands active engagement—and it’s actually making us more social, more creative, even more productive.
When Goldsmith introduced a class at the University of Pennsylvania called “Wasting Time on the Internet,” he nearly broke the Internet. The New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Slate, Vice, Time, CNN, The Telegraph, and many more ran articles expressing shock, dismay, and, ultimately, curiosity. Goldsmith’s ideas struck a nerve because they are brilliantly subversive—and endlessly shareable.In Wasting Time on the Internet, Goldsmith expands on his provocative insights, contending that our digital lives are remaking human experience. When we’re “wasting time,” we’re actually creating a culture of collaboration. We’re reading and writing more—and quite differently. And we’re turning concepts of authority and authenticity upside down. The Internet puts us in a state between deep focus and subconscious flow, a state that Goldsmith argues is ideal for creativity. Where that creativity takes us will be one of the stories of the twenty-first century.
Kenneth Goldsmith is a conceptual artist, and the first poet laureate of the Museum of Modern Art. He is the author of Seven American Deaths and Disasters and the book of essays Uncreative Writing, breaking down the art form he pioneered. Goldsmith teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught the controversial “Wasting Time on the Internet” class that inspired this book. He lives in New York with artist Cheryl Donegan and their two sons.