AWGTHTGTWTA, 2009

By Billy Rubin
Published in Vox Vernacular
Feb. 25, 2014

This is one of a series of "choral" works written to be performed by groups. Involving chanting and speaking in unison, they possess a musical quality. AWGTHTGTWTA is a cellular texting abbreviation that stands for: Are We Going to Have to Go Through with This Again? 

Oursler worked with a group of junior high-school students in Chelsea, Manhattan, some of whom were learning English as a second language. As part of a creative writing class, he gave the students a writing assignment: what is your notion of a utopian state? The script was developed in part from these statements, as well as from Oursler's research into the use of gaming technologies, the ubiquitous language of acronyms, and abbreviated texting popular among youth at the time. The work was designed to be displayed in the public playground of a housing project where children gather and near the school where the video was recorded. Projected onto a brick wall, it took the form of a video billboard. The work reflects the children's optimism and the future use of technology as envisioned at the time.