Breathe by Lanxia (Summer) Xie

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AND_NOW? Archaic Social Media

Submitted on February 16, 2017 - 12:18pm
Banner headline for Arts Wire
Banner headline for Arts Wire's front page, the "Hub," November 6, 1992


Arts Wire was the 1989 idea of our current Alum in Residence Anne Focke. It grew to be a significant way for artists and others across the country to share ideas about what was happening in the art world. Now Focke and four interns — Karen Beech (Art History senior), Jessica Capó (3D4M senior), Zach Heinemeyer (3D4M senior), and Lizzie Trelawny-Vernon (Art History junior, British exchange student) — are sorting through Focke's records from the early years of Arts Wire. Focke recently published an essay about their project: "Archaic social media – Arts Wire uncovered."

The students have been working on different ways to share what they have been learning, and much of it begins during the week of February 20, 2017:

A take-over of the School’s Instagram account, Monday–Friday, February 20–24. As of the 20th, find it at #AND_NOW? and watch for an introduction on the 19th.

An exhibition that draws on original materials from Arts Wire mounted at Parnassus, the storied cafe in the Art Building basement. Exhibition opening and party: 6–8 pm, Thursday, February 23; it will be on view through March 10.

A podcast series about Arts Wire — AND_NOW? — includes conversations about its history and interviews with people who were involved. The podcast launches at noon (Pacific Time) on Friday, February 24.


A fifth intern — Abby Cloutier (Art History senior) — was added to the mix at the start of spring quarter.

The podcast will soon have a dozen episodes. Be sure to visit the AND_NOW? website to listen and view the extras that have been posted for each epidsode.

A second AND_NOW? Archaic Social Media exhibition takes place later this month, this time in the Jacob Lawrence Gallery:

June 22, 6:30-9pm — conversation, exhibition opening, and potluck reception

June 23, 11am-5pm — exhibition open to the public with Anne Focke in attendance

June 24, 1-5pm — exhibition open, with readings, conversation, and other surprises

Anne Focke recently wrote this about the project and what the students have learned:

They began by inventorying file boxes full of plans, memos, screen print-outs, clippings, and handwritten notes. Before long, they began talking together and with people from across the country to learn more. They’ve learned how something new can be created and what the early days of the “information superhighway” were like – ascii art, early emojis, and undecipherable code. They’ve found things that make them laugh and things that completely puzzle them. They’ve also found sobering news of the events in Arts Wire’s times, discovered what can happen when art and politics mix, and learned how history loops forward into the present.