“Coat and Uncoat!”: The My Book of GHcoats Project and Implications for Conceptual Writing

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Using the internet and social media for that matter to create literature is a relatively new and burgeoning phenomenon in Sub-Saharan Africa, complementing more common uses such as political activism, economic opportunity and social networking. In November 2013, some Ghanaians on Facebook started a trend where fictional quotes were intentionally misattributed to famous people. This humorous trend went viral as many users created variations while others also shared and commented on these posts. The project evolved through multiple stages and eventually ended in the publication of an e-book entitled My Book of GHcoats which contained submissions from many Facebook users. The nature of the evolution thus positions My Book of GHcoats in the realm of conceptual writing.
This paper reviews the development of the project and categorizes the various submissions to understand the logic that informed the organization and progression of posts on Facebook and in My Book of GHcoats. The paper also explores the implications of the project on conceptual writing. As a literary work of art, My Book of GHcoats interrogates notions of the political and asks questions concerning context, place and ownership while performing linguistic, aesthetic and symbolic functions that are circumscribed by a specific cultural milieu. The book also adds to work by major conceptual artists such as Vanessa Place and Kenneth Goldsmith who are interested in the procedure (rather than the result) of conceptualism by analyzing the relationship between process and product.

(Source: author's abstract)

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Alvaro Seica