Kathleen Ottinger was born and raised in New York. She considers herself an “literary artist,” as she maintains both a writing practice and a visual arts practice, which often overlap. Her work often investigates the relationship between text and image, memory and its fallibility, and how physical beings find meaning in a world that has become increasingly digital. In 2014, she received her B.F.A. in Film, Animation and Video from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and her B.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University. Kathleen Ottinger lives and works in Providence, RI.
best.hello is a web poem, composed of original and appropriated texts. The appropriated texts were liberated from emails received by the author. Both bodies of text have been fed through a text-manipulation program to reorder the words, interleaving them to unfold new layers of meaning or interpretation. The resulting poem, best.hello, utilizes the affordances of both time-based visual media and the encounter with a ‘pop-up’ ad or alert box on the web. When combined, the two create a dialogue between them that refuses to be ignored or passively experienced: the alerts trigger the browser to jump to the front of other running applications, asserting the poem even after it has been minimized or concealed behind other applications. Even while the text obscures itself, several orders removed from its original context, shifting in and out of legibility, it demands to be read. What would be the "best" hello? Is it one that cannot be ignored? best.hello exists in the tension between restraint and release, hiding while wanting to be found in the most mundane of cultural exchanges: the greeting.