Individual Work

Erica Scourti’s performative work THINK YOU KNOW ME is a live performance of texting habits, as expressed in a rambling reading/writing surge, intermixed with a set of pre-defined sequences of surprising poetic and semantic clarity, activated when Scourti uses specific texting shortcuts (e.g. double-t becomes “love is not the absence of fear”). The format for the performance (writing with predictive keyboards) has been around for at least ten years, since Apple started incorporating predictive text in their iPhones. Predictive text in general, especially the advent of markov chains, is of course also a well-known format in the e-lit community. Scourti’s performance adds the layer of pre-written statements to both trouble and rearticulate the predictive text paradigm.
The performance is at one level a realist expression of Scourti’s actual texting habits - or at least it is an expression of how these texting habits are picked up and statistically ordered by the iPhone. This is not the whole story though, as Scourti smuggles in pre-written, repeated statements which interrupt (or maybe actually inform) the otherwise chaotic outcome from the iPhone’s algorithmic attempts to predict Scourti’s next words. The title of the work, THINK YOU KNOW ME, is here echoed when Scourti repeatedly incorporates these statements which are nowhere to be found in the predicted/suggested text, troubling the idea of the system ‘knowing’ Scourti at all - the Erica Scourti known by the system does not, apparently, write poetically. Instead, it seems the Scourti known by the iPhone is mostly concerned with getting people to visit the website When Scourti intermixes the pre-written statements like “love is not the absence of fear” with the predicted suggestions to ask people to check out for further info, the seemingly mundane activity of online networking suddenly envelopes a poetic reflection which seems to reference common dilemmas like the question of work-life balance and the tendency for artists to inscribe their lives and identities into their artistic practices. Who is Scourti texting? A friend? A potential curator? The audience? Herself? Does it matter? Not to the iPhone, at least.

This entry has beed adapted from: Erslev, Malthe Stavning and Søren Bro Pold. "Data-Realism: Reading and Writing Datafied Text." Electronic Book Review, 2020,