Gchat Conversations Published in Artist’s New Book

Beau Rice, Tex. Photo: Penny-Ante Editions.

A Los Angeles artist has just published a book of his private e-mails and Gchat conversations—so maybe it’s time to start using the “off-the-record” option. As reported by Complex, Beau Rice’s Tex compiles messages sent to and from friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers over the course of 18 months.

The publisher, Penny-Ante Editions, calls the project “a performance act in print,” describing the likely-unwitting participation of Rice’s Gmail contacts as “walk-ons by various interlocutors.” The 255-page tome spares no indignity, providing uncensored records of Rice’s attempts to arrange a casual encounter with an out-of-towner looking for BDSM and mummification, and of an embarrassing foot injury sustained while practicing ballet in a bathtub.

Though artnet News can’t imagine that all of Rice’s contacts will be pleased to see their correspondence published in such a public forum, the artist sees the project as a commentary on how the nature of relationships is rapidly evolving in the Internet age.

“Technology has birthed a paradoxical space between isolation and connectivity, profoundly expanding the possibilities for how and with whom we create intimacy,” reads the book’s description. As the conversations we conduct via the Internet become more and more pervasive in our every day lives, we may have to chose between adjusting our expectations for privacy, or altering our habits.

The question of privacy is sure to make this project controversial, but most will likely relate to at least some of the conversations Rice shares, such as his surreptitious on-the-job Gchatting. “i’m being a horrible employee by texting you right now,” reads one excerpt. “i’m like crouched behind the register counter, hiding.”

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