Creative Biotechnology – published clip
Image by Denna Jones
It’s easy to be a complex writer. What’s difficult is to turn complex ideas into easy-to-understand prose. An obituary for American newscaster Walter Cronkite said NBC network gave him his big break because he was able to "translate" the complexity of the Vietnam War so the average viewer could understand. Why is it so many writers – particularly academics – avoid simplicity and clarity?
I was commissioned by Locus + – an international visual arts commissioning agency – to write an essay for this catalogue in response to commissioned works from Natalie Jeremijenko and Eugene Thacker. Jeremijenko and Thacker collaborated on online download DIY biotech "kits", but when I was sent the accompanying texts, I had difficulty understanding what they were trying to say. They might argue DIY download enthusiasts should have to "make an effort" to understand big ideas, but I say big ideas need clarity. Save opaque language for colleagues at academic conferences.
Kudos to Locus + for publishing my essay wthout heavy handed editing. And yes, I know it’s "vade mecum" not "wade mecum"!