A few days ago, Artforum covered the story of how Google, without any explanation, not only disabled Dennis Cooper's email account (can you even imagine if you lost all your emails?) but also his blog, which since 2002 has been a source of inspiration for artists all over the world.
The online, freely available archive was a demonstration of Cooper's public support for and devotion to the art community at large. I, myself, discovered a great number of artists I would have never heard of otherwise.
But Cooper's blog was not just a record of his art activism; it was also the storage site of his only copy of a novel narrated entirely in GIFs.
Google has yet to respond to either Cooper's or the media's inquiries about whether or not the novel has been archived and may be returned to him. The alternatives are: (1) yes, Cooper's novel is archived, but Google will not let its creator have it; (2) Google destroyed it.
Today, PEN America's executive director Suzanne Nossel added the literary organization's support and issued this statement:
Blogs and social media accounts serve as crucial outlets for creative and artistic expression for millions of people around the world, as well as venues for open discussion among interested visitors. Disabling Dennis Cooper's blog with no explanation and no assurance that his years of work have been preserved undercuts the trust that users place in online platforms that host their work and ideas. PEN has joined Cooper's calls for a prompt response from Google.
All I can add here is my own voice, quiet though it may be, and my personal gratitude to Dennis for his longstanding support of my own work and the significantly heightened visibility that he, on his blog, gave not only to me but to hundreds if not thousands of emerging artists everywhere.