“Citizen Journalists”

“Citizen Journalists”

we are now

frictionless neighborsHeadshot

world news curators

cultural translators

censorhsip invaders

content creators

we are the printing press

printing press every second

we are citizen journalists

just look at past and current events

Diese Zeilen stammen aus dem Gedicht “Citizen Journalists” von David Bowden und ist eines von drei Gedichten, das der Künstler zum Thema Social Media geschrieben und performed hat. In einem kurzen Interview erzählt Bowden von sich und der Entstehunsgeschichte des dazugehörigen Videos.

According to the short biography presented on your website you started writing poetry on a road trip at 19, after an encounter with God. This sounds like those coming-of-age stories where a young, rebellious guy is looking for the meaning of life. What is your story?

True, it’s safe to say that I was somewhat rebellious. A more proper term would probably be uncomfortable or angst-driven. I was a young college student wanting to make a better world, and like most college students I believed it wasn’t only possible, it was my job. A friend and I left my Christian university in Oklahoma City and set out on a road trip for Chicago. We were heading to see a band, The Flobots, play the Chicago House of Blues. Unknown to us, however, there was an opening act of spoken word poets called the “Readnex.” It should come as no shock to anyone familiar with America’s heartland that fringe cultural arts are not readily available in mainstream venues. Therefore, suffice it to say, this was my first encounter with spoken word poetry. In that moment I felt a commissioning on my life to write. And not just write, but to write with purpose. I wrote my first poem “The I’s Have It,” which is all about how information interrupts ignorance, on our drive back to Oklahoma City. I started performing at the one slam poetry bar in the city along with any other small gigs I could get a coffee shops or charity events. After about a year of writing and performing, I did a small charity event for a non-profit called “Wishing Well”. I didn’t know it, but there was a director of a conference that hosted 18,000 teenagers in the audience. He invited me to speak there after the show.

Most people, though I might be wrong about that, start writing in their teenage years. You’re quite a late bloomer.

Yes and no. I was always journaling and jotting. I always loved words. But I never tried my hand at poetry until that encounter in Chicago. In fact the first poem I ever wrote was in the 7th grade and it was entitled “I Can’t Write a Poem”. It’s now framed and hanging in my office.

Do you remember the first line that came to your mind?

I’m not sure. But I do remember one line that was the first to self-populate in my head and was also my first to read aloud to someone else:

“We are living in the age of a dying Mission / Institution stole our name and economics our vision”

It is still a long way from writing poetry to becoming a poet who professionally produces and publishes video performances. How did this happen?

As I examined a bit in the first question, my career has been a series of open doors, created by happenstance or providence (depending on which way you are inclined). After I performed at my first major event, I started doing small shows that stemmed off of the larger ones. The first videos I produced were the product of commissioned work from churches that had the means to produce my work. Once those videos started to get passed around and viewed I started to receive more booking requests. I just kept pursuing the work everyone offered me, and always tried to present my best work at every event.


Your poetry video about citizen journalism caught my attention. I first thought it was the performance of some theater studies major. It really was a surprise finding out from who it was.

The topic is very different to your other performances which center around your faith.

This is true. But it is also untrue. It is true, in that my faith does not explicitly vocalize itself in the hard and fast theological terms you may find in the majority of my body of work. However, it is also untrue because I hold a faith that is incarnational and present in this world. To talk about how we can use technology to tell the stories of injustice that our world needs to hear so that they might be mended, is a product of my faith. Most people draw a strong and bold line between the sacred and the secular. But I hold a faith that states that the most sacred (God) came to be a part of the most secular (the world). Therefore, I believe that as my career progresses people will see more and more of this incarnational poetry.

Could you please tell the story behind this video?

This video came through a partnership between myself and a technology speaker named Scott Klososky. I spent hours with Scott, picking his brain and asking questions, to understand different aspects of “Citizen Journalism”. Our talks led to three videos: “The Inner Net,” “Citizen Journalists” and “Outboard Brain.” My specific take on this piece came from my desire to show people that they can and should tell a better story with their social networks, that what they say can make a difference, and that since we have these tools we have a responsibility to use them responsibly.


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Fotos: Copyright David Bowden