Goodreads.ca is a project by Toronto area resident Timothy Comeau who at various times throughout the year is an artist, a writer, a thinker, and an office worker.

Goodreads is about the zeitgeist as much as it is about linking to thought-stimulating an educational articles. It began in January 2004 as an email list service and in March of that year I began to use the Blogger platform to archive the emails and to provide an RSS feed. In August 2005 the site was redesigned to take advantage of a MySQL backend and in February 2007 the site was migrated to a WordPress interface.

Because I began this while primarily know as an artist, some people thought of Goodreads as an art project. It could be considered so if you take the following seriously:

The activities of DJs, Web surfers, and postproduction artists imply a similar configuration of knowledge, which is characterized by the invention of paths through culture. All three are ‘semionauts’ who produce original pathways through signs. Every work is issued from a script that the artist projects onto culture, considered the framework of a narrative that in turn projects new possible scripts, endlessly. The DJ activates the history of music by copying and pasting together loops of sound, placing recorded products in relation with each other. Artists actively inhabit cultural and social forms. The Internet users may create his or her own homepage and constantly reshuffle the information obtained, inventing paths that can be bookmarked and reproduced at will. When we start a search engine in pursuit of a name or a subject, a mass of information from a labyrinth of databanks is inscribed on the screen. The ‘semionaut’ imagines the links, the likely relations between disparate sites. A sampler, a machine that reprocesses musical products, also implies constant activity; to listen to records becomes work in itself. which diminishes the dividing line between reception and practice, producing new cartographies of knowledge. This recycling of sounds, images, and forms implies incessant navigation within the meanderings of cultural history, navigation which itself becomes the subject of artistic practice. (Nicolas Bourriaud Post-Production, 2002)

If you’re like me and just scrolled past that quote because it’s TLDR, I can say this: Goodreads is not an art project when `art` is defined as being something useless. Goodreads is an art project when it takes up creative energy. Sometimes I’ve said I’m a curator of ideas, the gallery is the web, the opening is in your inbox. Othertimes, I’m a freelance editor working ten-years ahead of the pack, a personal argregator of content. Goodreads is a soapbox by which I try to inject unheard, anonymous conversation with more intelligence than is offered from the news media, which can only appear intelligent when the overall picture emerges from a link collection. With Goodreads I also try to provide a resource for curious searchers to find what they might be looking for by republishing content or posting things on the web for the first time.

Goodreads self-consciously adopts the Penguin style of preferring single quotes rather than double because I find it more aesthetically pleasing. Double quotes are used to deliminate teaser-quotations from the articles I’m linking to.

Goodreads.ca is in no way affiliated with the social-networking site Goodreads.com

Timothy Comeau, October 2007