EADERS began a few years ago as a communal blog project with some friends. I was interested in an idea of information condensation happening, not just on blogs, but in conversations, emails, magazines, and books. Making a comprehensive blog entry required a certain kind of synthesis/distillation of information, textual and otherwise, that is of course different than the type of synthesizing that goes into writing an essay — but it has changed the way we think about writing an essay; it is about reducing to the smallest size possible and including the maximum number of possible linkages within a limited space. That is, a minimum contained area with maximum external connections.

It’s been a platitude for the last five or ten years – the refrain that the internet is making us inattentive, lazy, and shallow when it comes to reading text. The techno-phobia behind much of this discourse on one side is matched by a certain belligerent flaunting of netculture, which insists that fast info-processing is obviously a positive that outweighs the negative, and that we just should get on board and give up lengthy writing. TL;DR. Too Long; Didn’t Read. Both sides of the same argument, one scared and the other self-righteous, seem to think that the speed of information transmission in bite-size chunks and the subjectivities that this engenderes – e.g. lazy with a shallow understanding, or informed on a million subjects with no sense of depth, chronology, or context – are part of our inevitable future.

It’s true that the amount of text that fits on one computer screen without scrolling is limited, and that images and videos are generally a faster and more direct way of relaying information online. But I’m not really interested in the problem of short attention spans, because I still read a lot of books, and I also read a lot of long texts online. All of us still read. But we do read differently. I’m much more interested in the way that, because of these changes, we begin to treat text like images, how design sensibilities about text are changing, and how manipulation of text takes on a particularly spatial component online.

I often think about, for example, the way that I move through internet-space; when I click on a link, am I moving in, out, left, right, up, down? The layout for EADERS was initially conceived with this concept in mind – to progress in the way a comment thread moves with each entry – down and to the right, referring to and transforming the previous piece of information. What does it mean to treat text in this way, as endlessly manipulable and reduceable?

Through its layout and its process, EADERS references in many ways the way that information gets passed through multiple channels online. Though it’s not intended to be a parallel process, the text moves through the publication, either losing or retaining specific content, tone, and reference points, in the way text, images, and video circulate around the web. And I think that the endpoint of the publication’s process, a point at which the text cannot be further reduced, remains a strong, dense piece of writing. Condensation is the opposite of dilution. This project offers an alternative to the notion that reduction is the equal to passivity in terms of reading and writing, hoping to address an internet-era attitude towards speed and breadth without, ultimately, undermining our capacity for depth.