overcoming reading: a series of digital literature workshops
a series of workshops workshop on digital literature at Garage Digital (in Russian)
In this series of workshops about digital literature, I explored the emancipation of reading, or the liberation of the process of reading from the diktat of the author and conservative literary discourses. Participants got to know the history of digital literature and the theory that highlights its critical potential.
1/3: cybertext, or the emancipation of classical Russian literature
During the lecture part of the workshop, I talked about hypertext literature and its connection to feminist literature. The presence of links removes the author’s control over the process of reading. The way readers read the text depends on them. Readers have equal rights to writers and there are no “correct” or “incorrect” trajectories of reading. Interactive literature is an ideal place to hear the voices of subalterns who have previously been silenced by mainstream literary traditions.
During the practical part of the workshop, participants learned to use one of the tools for working with hypertext, the online editor Twine. They used it to deconstruct a number of texts from classical Russian literature, which, according to the philosopher Valery Podoroga, embodies the Russian imperial myth in its form. My goal was to demonstrate that hypertext can sabotage established procedures for reading and writing, destroying the linearity of reading and the illusion of the passive presence of the reader in realistic prose.
2/3: poetry in motion: living through time
The lecture part of the workshop comprises a short introduction to the history of kinetic visual poetry, or poetry in motion: from subtitles in silent movies to the poetic film experiments of the 1970s. On the one hand, visual poetry suggests that the visual image has priority, something that is deliberately disembodied, objectified, and places the viewer in a privileged position. On the other hand, video suggests duration, and in this sense text in motion does not cancel time like printed text but relates to the subjective time of the viewer. In this sense, kinetic poetry is closer to the body than ordinary text and can suggest new trajectories for the critique of the imperial.
During the practical part of the workshop, participants created a kinetic poem from scratch using p5.js, a popular environment for creative coding. Together with the artist, participants attempted at deconstructing the Russian literary canon and add visual and temporal dimensions to text, roughly speaking crossing Tolstoy’s novel with Stephane Mallarmé’s "Throw of the Dice".
3/3: poetry and sound: from linguistic abstraction to the body
The lecture part of the workshop covers contemporary research into sound as the most bodily (and therefore the most critically loaded) medium: from Afrofuturism to Steve Goodman’s “sonic warfare.” One cannot avoid sound or look at it from a point of privilege; it can only be lived through, and with the entire body. Accordingly, translation of poetry into the medium of sound involves not only duration but also the bodily nature of experience, in which the listener has no privileges. Sound only gets to us when the vibration passes through our body.
During the practical part of the workshop, participants learned to synthesize sound with the help of the p5.js environment by using patterns found in the text. A program was created created to transform the syntactic structure of the text into an original score for an audio play and then perform it. The meaning of words is lost, but the structure of the text can still be felt by the body. This process (making meaningless and simultaneously bodily) metaphorically highlights ideologies concealed in classical Russian literature. They can be hidden in the very form and regime of writing.
interface: some critical strategies
a lecutre at the digital humanities master’s program at ITMO (in Russian)
In this talk, I sketch out three artistic strategies that discover the hidden logics of interfaces and help deconustruct and criticize them. Following Alexander Galloway, I conceptualize digital interfaces as a frame that pretends to be a window. Interfaces manipulate users and define user experience altogether, yet they hide their presence; in this way, interfaces have very much in common with ideology, as Wendy Chun has shown.
passport to the shredder, or on the other side of bureaucracy
a workshop on generative poetry at Garage Digital (in Russian)
slides, Google Colab notebook
In this workshop about generative poetry, I look at the role of violence in the language of bureaucracy. In the lecture part, I discuss generative poetry in the history of art and literature (see the slides). Then I suggest that participants work with a poetic text using the code of simple poetic algorithms in Python (see the Google Colab notebook).