Information Prose :: A Manifesto in 47 Points :: Version 1.0
by Jeremy P. Bushnell, firstname.lastname@example.org
9. You can learn a lot about a person from a mixtape
10. When at someone’s house for the first time, you tend to look at their bookshelves
11. Fiction which builds characters without taking this into account has its head in the sand
The primary goal of the information prose writer is to document the
and environment in a way that takes the contemporary
importance of media and information seriously.
contemporary fiction writers are afraid or otherwise unwilling to do
this. I submit as evidence the large numbers of contemporary novels set
in environments which lack informational richness: rural
past, "magical realism
14. Information prose does not
attempt to depict a simplified
version of the world. Information prose
attempts to contain as much of the complexity
of the world as possible.
15. "Do you understand how tremendously dense? A minute in a room, together." — Don DeLillo, Valparaiso
A fictional American present in which no one watches TV, listens to the
radio, or checks their e-mail is sentimental and false.
Information prose writers should not aim to write work which is
. The value of documentary work never lies in its timelessness.
When writing about characters who inhabit dense fields of information
(both remembered and newly-experienced), the value of quoting,
sampling, and appropriation rapidly becomes apparent.
Creative work utilizing techniques of appropriation has been produced
with regularity for nearly a hundred years now, in all forms of media.
Information prose writers should no longer need to defend these
techniques against charges of novelty.
20. A partial primer,
organized in a rough chronology: the Comte de Lauteamont’s Maldoror,
Dada collages, Tristan Tzara’s cut-up poems, William S. Burroughs’
cut-up and fold-in novels, Robert Rauschenberg’s media silkscreens,
Bern Porter’s found poems, Situationist detournement projects, the
poetry of John Ashbery, Brian Eno and David Byrne’s My Life In the Bush
of Ghosts, the novels of Kathy Acker, the albums of Public Enemy and
Negativland, and the films of Craig Baldwin.
21. All evidence indicates that much of this work is of lasting merit.
All evidence indicates that these techniques of appropriation are
exactly the ones necessary to create a recognizable picture of the
23. "As artists, our work involves
displacing and displaying bites of publicly available, publicly
influential material because it peppers our personal environment and
affects our consciousness
. In our society, the media which surrounds us
is as available, and as valid a subject for art, as nature itself."
—Negativland’s Tenets of Free Appropriation
prose writers should not be afraid to plagiarize. It is not their duty
to write citations. Our memories and experiences do not usually come
attended by complete bibliographies.
25. Information prose
writers should not overlook the technique of the fragment
experience of the textuality of the surrounding world is largely
; information prose should strive to reflect that.
(to be continued)