2022-12-10 ● Thank You, Garden

A screenshot of my letter in the Thank You, Garden webzine. The text in the letter follows the first paragraph after this image.

Today was the C/O Digital Festival in Berlin, and Nami and I facilitated an HTML and CSS (and some JavaScript) workshop building a community garden webzine, called Thank You, Garden (name taken from the children’s book). Some of us wrote letters of gratitude to one another, and here was mine.

Growing up, I would wake up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the early morning and quietly go to the family den where the computer was, so I could dial-up to the Internet, totally undisturbed. It would make me think that I was the only one who was awake at that hour, but still, to my surprise, someone in the same city, or a totally different part of the world would be, too. When you think you are completely and utterly alone, there is always someone out there that feels the same. That’s why the first thing we say when we program something on the computer is “Hello, world”. We want to let the world know that we are here, that we exist, and hope that it will reach someone, somewhere, someday.

As a child, I liked being on the Internet because for the first time in my life, I could carve out a corner for myself, that I could cosy up into: a small plot of land that was abstract and immaterial, yet felt very real, even if intangible; someplace I could call my own. I found that many others felt the exact same thing. And then the Internet stopped being this place to be alone in.

In this residency, we each said our greetings and introductions, but as we close, instead of saying “goodbye”, I think it is more important to say “thank you”. Together, we formed a space to be ourselves in, to know and understand one another, and conspired to imagine better worlds, a more caring Internet. I think a community garden is a metaphor that fits this best: we’ve laid the foundation, and have each planted our hopes. The garden will keep growing, into something bigger that will sustain us and others for the future to come.

I have a lot of gratitude to you, Taeyoon and Barbara, for allowing all of us to come together like this, and to all my fellow residents, for sharing and planting seeds.

And to Nami, I am also very grateful to you, that you were someone, somewhere, someday, that I was able to reach. Thank you for reaching back out. :)

Thank you, all. :)