Personal Navigation Assistant — A Winning Essay in the Art Writing Contest!


[Dear readers, we are publishing the essays of the 16 finalists in the New Art Writing Challenge Contest on artblog and the St. Claire! Today, we publish the finalists in the category of “500 words or less“. Thanks to all those who participated and submitted more than 70 articles. And thanks to our jurors — Hrag Vartanian, Abigail Satinsky, and Nell McClister–who picked the winners. We are energized by all the wonderful writing that was submitted, and know you will enjoy reading it! — the artblog editors]

Finalists in category: 500 words or less

Personal Navigation Assistant
By Emma Hicks

“I had my first thrilling thought in Philadelphia.”*
– David Lynch

This text traces encounters with exhibitions in Philadelphia as determined through the lens of a screen.

We are now here: and true to the spirit of the internet I actually have NO recollection of how I got here… literally none! From here lets head on over to it turns out AUTOMAT is a brand new artist run space and according to Facebook 534 people like this. Artist Shane Allan Smith has a video work and from the looks of the photograph I would say it is heavily narrative based. Keep scrolling apparently there was an enjoyable performance at Little Berlin recently ( Click on the teaser “Art convention” upcoming in May involves crisp images of underwear, glitter, spaghetti, a deer, some beer and a pencil sharpener. Keep scrolling. A Picture of an orange crate full of tote bags. Install shots. Publicity shots. Photographic “teasers”. A kind of Art photo-ness.

Over to the word “swaths” catches my eye. Texturally challenging. Lets grab a definition from scroll down “a space devastated” would make a great title for a work.

Back at Geist-Magazine click on the first link check it out they have a “talk to us section”, I drop them a line…I am an artist in Sydney Australia if I decided to come to Philadelphia for a day next month what would be a must see/ do?

While we wait for a response

I am thinking about some kind of beef and cheese concoction ( and a deleted scene from the 1993 movie Philadelphia

A response from Paradigm Arts never came through.

It is now tomorrow.

I wonder whether any of this is really productive at all. Maybe that isn’t important. Access is important. 
For whatever reasons, I just want to sit here a little longer.

Desktop screenshot 1:11am Wed 15, April 2015.

*The New York Times Magazine January 14, 1990 / Section 6, (

Emma Hicks is a Sydney based artist. She is currently completing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at Sydney College of the Arts. Emma has exhibited both nationally and internationally working across film, installation and performance.


art writing contest, emma hicks, personal navigation assistant



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