The inspiration for this TXT R.I.P began a decade ago, when Director, Victoria Mapplebeck unearthed a message thread buried in a vintage Nokia. She had unwittingly archived a three year text message dialogue with an ex-partner. A story that told the story of how they met, dated for just a few months, broke up and subsequently dealt with an unplanned pregnancy. Her texts began,

“I had a great time last night”

and ended,

“Have you got the results yet?”

When her ex partner requested a paternity test when their son was two. His texts began,

“Loved meeting u”

and ended,

“Yes, I got the results… I’m moving to Spain.”

“I’m Moving to Spain”, was his last and final text message. Their son is twelve now. He hasn’t seen his father since he was two. What remains of his father are the messages he sent and the gifts he bought on the handful of occasions he came to visit. A small archive that includes a pair of baby pajamas, a Christmas card, three letters, two emails, a discarded paternity test and just 100 texts archived in a now vintage Nokia.

In an age of rapid fire, often character limited exchanges, do we think before we text? TXT R.I.P will create a rich dialogue about our digital secrets. We’ll explore the interface between emotion and technology, reflecting on the ways in which we increasingly substitute text for voice. Many of us have sent or picked up a text that felt like a Digital Hit and Run. Texts can be poetic, brutal, intimate, shocking, sad, funny, intriguing. It’s a language that captures the random poetry of urban life.

TXT R.I.P begins with a personal story, but it also tells a universal story, one in which we increasingly expect more from technology and less from each other.