Rachel Ossip


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What would a collaborative, creative, written work look like? Is it possible for a somewhat-random jumble to evoke intrigue or emotion?

Fast, Cheap & Out of Control is a 1997 documentary film by Errol Morris, which explores the strange professions of four impassioned men. Dave Hoover is a lion tamer; George Mendonça created topiaries at Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth, Rhode Island; Ray Mendez is a expert on hairless mole-rats; Rodney Brooks, an M.I.T. scientist, designed bug-like robots. The four have little in common, yet, thanks to Morris' compositional mastery, the viewer is presented with a seemingly coherent narrative that explores human nature and our desire to understand it.

In order to probe the human tendency to derive meaning through proximity and context alone, I Contact uses quotes from the four protagonists as prompts to generate a collective, crowd-sourced poetics. As Morris's haphazard collage of found film and unrelated interviews results in a heartening view of the most basic aspects of life, so too can I Contact be interpreted as an ever-growing portrait of humanity.

Visitors are presented with the opportunity to respond to the quotes/promts without knowledge of their use.

After submitting the form, visitors are led through pages that collate all responses to a given promt. The column structure and shifting placement of the responses allows the field of text to be read as a form of poetry.