Life Online Project

Just as Jonathan Harris and Greg Hochmuth’s Network Effect explores the impact of social media while simultaneously encouraging us to go offline, the Life Online Project asks you to document and analyze what life online is like in 2018, but in an offline form.

This is an open-ended project that may be completed individually or in groups of up to three people. In either case, two key principles of this project are that it must be public and that it must not be screen-centered. In other words, the project must exist somewhere other than a laptop, tablet, or phone screen. The possibilities include zines, pamphlets, posters and signs, pop-up galleries on campus, guided tours, live performances, flash mobs, scavenger hunts, audio stations, installations, and so on. In addition to the non-screen public portion of your project, there will be an individually-crafted Artist Statement that explains the philosophy and guiding principles of your project.

The Public Portion

The heart of your Life Online Project is a meditation about what it means to live life online at the close of 2018. The meditation should document and analyze whatever your topic is. You can do this from you own point of view, or—with some caveats—from another perspective, say from a series of interviews. Either way, you should approach this project from a specific perspective, rather than from some generic or generalized perspective.

The public portion of your project will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Documentation (the depth and specificity of the documentary evidence you use)
  • Insight (the extent to which you uncover and articulate insights about what it means to live with, on, and through the Internet)
  • Craft (the degree of mastery of the mode of sharing or representation)
  • Intention (the sense of intentionality and deliberateness of the work)
  • Theme (the level of engagement with ideas from this class)

Due to the many forms this project may take, there are no clear criteria regarding length. The best I can say is that your project should be right-sized—it should leave your audience satisfied, maybe wanting more, but definitely feeling like there was something substantial shared.

And speaking of audience, consider the entire Davidson community—students, faculty, staff, administrators, townies—to be in your potential audience.


  • Play to your strengths but test your limits
  • Make use of Davidson’s resources
  • If you find yourself thinking too much, work instead
The Artist Statement

In addition to the public portion of the project, each person must write an Artist Statement of 1,500-2,000 words. In this document you’ll reflect on the guiding principles of your public project. Also use the statement to address the above criteria that aren’t self-evident in the public portion of the project. The best demonstrations of your project’s engagement with the themes of this course will be explicit analyses of and connections to various readings, theories, and material from the class.

Documenting the Project

Be sure to document the execution of your project. If there are material elements to your project, be sure to share them with me. If the project is ephemeral—for example, a performance or guerilla presentation—be sure to document the project’s enactment with photographs and video, and share that documentation with me.

Key Dates
  • Monday, November 12: Come to class if you have questions or concerns about project, otherwise work outside of class on project
  • Monday, November 19 – Friday, November 30: Life Online projects either released, available, or staged during this time period.
  • Friday, November 30: Individual Artist Statements Due

The Life Online Project is worth 20% of your final grade.

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