New Media Textuality

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Intersections of Expression: Artists’ Books and Digital Poetry

Within the realm of new media, how does one encapsulate the literary dimension? Janez Strehovec proposes a novel term— “word-image-body-movement”—a hybrid unit that threads together verbal context, visual perception, tangible materiality, and dynamic textual manifestations within the new media. Such a multifaceted term inherently beckons an interdisciplinary approach, unveiling a realm where literature melds with visual, tangible, and dynamic dimensions.

Analogous to the theater, Roman Ingarden’s theory of literature-aesthetic experience offers a convenient methodology for understanding this intricate blend. In this context, text is enlivened by the corporeal presence of actors, the tapestry of scenography, costumography, and other visual components. Ingarden dubs this amalgamation as “not-completely literature,” a trajectory leading toward the realm of visual arts.

Nearly eight decades hence, e-literature bridges the chasm between theories of visual communication, body art, performance, interactive installations, animation, cinematography, and video. This fusion creates an immersive landscape where expressions coalesce, transcending traditional boundaries and converging at the juncture of artistic evolution.

SPAM Sonnets

Automated poetry, Enzensberger’s Poesie-Automat (1974, 2000) for example, is a problem to read, because the structure inside the quasi-verses and quasi-poems is too chaotic. SPAM sonnets dismiss this problem in an original way: the subjects of junk mails are simultaneously reasonable “authorial” statements and  readymades. It sufficiently consolidates the new media verse, successfully preventing irruption of absurdity. Although the visual arrangement of strophes is the only sonnetic  element in SPAM sonnets, it sufficiently evokes the tradition of this poetic form.

Literature and New Media Art in the “Sonnetoid” Web Projects by Slovenian Artists Vuk Ćosić and Teo Spiller

News Sonnets

The journey into the realm of new media sonnets unfurls anew upon a distinct technological tapestry. This endeavor thrives in real-time, seamlessly siphoning titles from internet news portals, adroitly weaving them into the fabric of sonnets. Each “strophe” intricately links to its pertinent news piece—yet, an intriguing twist ensues. As the cursor grazes over the strophe, it “bursts” into prominence, expanding to engulf the entire screen.

Reading these News Sonnets is an experience unlike any other, as they invoke an unusual sensory encounter. Through this dynamic confluence, the vibrancy of current events is subsumed into the poetic canvas, fundamentally altering the temporal dimension of poetry consumption. Traditionally a tranquil and introspective endeavor, poetry reading morphs within News Sonnets—now punctuated by the pulse of the present, injecting an element of immediacy into every line and syllable.

Unlocking Poetry’s Spatial Domain: The Landscape of SMS Sonnets

Within the traditional realm of poetry, the author exists as a distant figure in both time and space, incapable of intervening in the act of reading. In the era of swift digital information transmission, the emergence of SMS sonnets fundamentally reshapes this landscape. Three distinct roles converge within this innovative communication ecosystem. Passengers aboard city buses, unrelated to this project, send diverse messages to the screens adorning these buses. The internet user crafts new sonnets from a pool of the most recent 500 messages. The third persona in this triad is the author, the visionary behind this multi-user poetry production system.

Displayed messages seamlessly meld with the cityscape, enhancing the lines of city buses with poetic threads. In this symbiotic ecosystem, bus passengers find the agency to respond to sonnets as they materialize, authored by the platform user. Yet, an even more exhilarating layer unfurls—an invitation to “hack” the system. Users can contribute their own 15 messages to the repository, fashioning a unique sonnet from their literary offerings.

These SMS sonnets emerge as authentic expressions, emanating from human creativity rather than machines. Every keystroke is tethered to its designated author, bearing responsibility for the composition’s quality. The system fosters an “ambient” atmosphere conducive to poetic construction, facilitated through passenger interactions. This ecosystem not only invites response but also presents an entrancing opportunity for users to engage in creative intervention—where individual messages coalesce to craft evocative sonnets.

Create your own SMS sonnet