For many -- myself included -- Google Docs is more than just an online word processing platform, it’s a way of life. Why save files to a clunky old hard drive when you can access your documents from something as wonderfully nebulous as a cloud? Why send a Microsoft Word document back and forth with a coworker when you can collaborate on a piece of writing in real time, adorably finishing each other’s sentences?
In the back of our minds, diehard Docs users wonder if we should be worried about Google having all-seeing access to our words, thoughts and vital pieces of information. Probably, but it’s just so darn convenient, you know?
Even for those who believe wholeheartedly in the software’s claim to “bring documents to life,” Google Docs remains for the most part a working space, a place for orderly rows of facts and figures on a white piece of digital paper.
But artists are here to challenge that conventional use -- and, let’s be honest, all conventions -- with a knowing nod to the document’s inherent power. Documents of the Future: Invitation to Edit, a one-night-only event on Sept. 9 at Oakland’s CTRL+SHFT Collective, presents individual performances (some on-site, some live streaming) and one collaborative performance all addressing the “unstable and transformative nature of documents.”
Most exciting of these is the Performance Document Working Group, which turns a shared Google Doc into a platform for conversation, co-writing, editing and experimentation for seven artists sitting at computers all over the world.