It is a shared opinion that electronic literature was born in the orbit of concrete poetry in the late 50s. In 1954 Eugen Gomringer says “the new poem is simple and can be perceived visually as a whole as well as in its parts. It becomes an object to be both seen and used; an object containing thought but made concrete through play-activity, its concern is with brevity and conciseness. It is memorable and imprints itself upon the mind as a picture. Its objective element of play is useful to modern man, whom the poet helps through his special gift for this kind of play-activity. (…) The constellation is an arrangement, and at the same time a play-area of fixed dimensions. The constellation is ordered by the plot. He determines the play-area, the fields or force and suggests its possibilities. The reader, the new reader, grasps the idea of play, and joins in. (…) the Constellation is an invitation. [E. Gomringer, From Line to Consellation] The purpose of this presentation is to investigate how some of the main features of concrete poetry are radicalised and remediated in digital environment. As it happened to concrete poetry in the 20th c., a form of writing made for a large audience and the exploitation of new ways to communicate are essential reasons behind electronic literature, which is nowadays conceived as a global experimentation in poetry as well as in storytelling. Besides, the visual dislocation of the text beyond the white page of the book, and the emphasis on the opacity and materiality of the word might at first sight lead to the “topographical writing” that David J. Bolter has theorized in order to describe hypertext. Differently, I would rather advocate a remediation based on a strong connection between the text, seen as “constellation and an invitation”, and the body of the beholder. It often happens that the reader’s body becomes the reading surface of the text and a necessary means to create a participative experience, which corresponds to the construction of the narrative/poetic text and its meaning. Two are the main aspects to be discussed: 1. just like the reproducibility of the product (Walter Benjamin) makes the consumer’s behaviour become an essential part of the work of art, in electronic literature a machine-reader-algorithm-author cybernetic feedback-loop is vital to create the aesthetic experience; 2. the opacity of the word becomes a multi-perceptive stream of linguistic signs that the reader needs to recognize per se before decoding. The literary works I intend to analyse are: the sculptural poetry Text Rain by Camille Utterback, the physio-cybertext The Breathing Wall by Kate Pullinger, Stefan Schemat and babel, and an example of literary work realized in the three-dimensional space of the virtual cave. All these works imply a “programmed improvisation”, that is a sensual, conceptual and communicative answer to the machine. As for concrete poetry, electronic literature leads to a powerful and immediate playful mechanism which makes many detractors say that these works are comparable to videogames. My questions are: what do we expect from a literary text in digital environment? Why and how is it produced? What is the role played by the author? Even more important: what is the relationship between algorithm (computer programming) and poetics? How is the reading experience shaped by the machine code? What is the process of reading in electronic environment?
|Titolo:||“Concrete Poetry Remediated: the Body, the Algorithm and the Word”|
|Nome del convegno:||AIA Conference - Associazione Italiana Anglisti|
|Numero del convegno:||xxvi|
|Anno del convegno:||2013|
|Luogo del convegno:||Parma|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||02 - Intervento a convegno|