I can still recall the first essay I wrote. In Elementary school we used to have a kind of “show and tell”: we gave small presentations on subjects we were interested in. That first essay, that I wrote on my computer, was about ocean fish and shells. This topic originated in the screensaver: fish swimming around in the black space of my sleeping computer. I used it as a proof of how beautiful and important fish and shells where. I made my own image, using a screenshot that I made from the screensaver and made a collage with it. After that I scaned the collage and touched it up using Microsoft Paint. I wrote my text in Microsoft Word 1995, in which Word Art was my best friend in regarding graphic design. Not only was this my first time using a wordprocessor, but also the first time that I used the Internet as an source. This was in the early years of the web, so the websites at my disposal were limited. I trusted the web implicitly, growing up with a father who loved computer electronics, I was already used to scroll the World Wide Web and make use of basic computer programs. My grandmother, who helped me with my essay, didn’t trust the Internet as much as I did and dragged me to the library, to help me conduct research the old fashioned way to do. I still preferred using digital information, especially Wikipedia, as a reliable source and believed almost everything that I read, eager to become the ‘smart’ person I wanted to be.
Now, 15 years on, I know the difference. As the world wide web grew and new online protocols were introduced, as the danger of anonymity began to grow as well. The art schools I studied at, did not teach me how to ascertain what was to be used as a reliable source. Instead they like my grandmother pushed me back into the library; a space full of books with large texts and no images, that produces information that was easier to verify on accuracy and trustworthiness. But, it is not a very friendly place for a visual thinker with a high level of dyslexia like me. I hesitated to employ reference books as a better source than the myriad of webpages that were giving me multiple points of view on the same topic. I immersed myself in the Internet’s abyss, until I decided something needed to change. The knowledge I tried to acquire by studying via websites was insufficient and unreliable. I loved to learn, I liked to read in spite of my dyslexia.
Although I still used YouTube as an additional, critical theory teacher, I gained contacts with kindred spirits who were avid readers. Whilst becoming part of a this more theoretical community my ideas of how information worked on perception biased my ability to proportion reliable sources. This learning process played a key role in how and why I became interested in what information is, how it works and why we are so eager to implement that what we find experience as trustworthy in making our decisions or even our world view. My search evolved around the question: why is our identity so closely connected to what we perceive to know and how do we use that in order to make choices between good or better.