The first thing worth mentioning in regards to the two pieces this week, is the fact that they left me with a subtle respect towards the notion that real originality still exists, and human creativity is actually a boundless element which has not lost its possibilities for surprising the senses and, however subtlety, producing that special smile of appreciation in front of the aesthetically unexpected. In this sense, despite not producing the astonishment or profound commotion of a Hemingway novel or a Poem by Derek Walcott, the ways in which the originality of these pieces stimulates the artistic hope of mind, can be explored in order to comprehend not only the flexibility but also the contemporary abundance of art, in particularly literature, as a force which is far from extinction.
In this line of ideas, it is possible to affirm that both pieces focus on offering an experience instead of a specific textual composition. The first piece to which I accessed was the Linus’ Letter, and from the first moment, the dynamic of the interaction with the poems made me smile in front of a simple and yet elaborated mechanism of ambiguity which lines stand against the most negative aspects of modern life directly from one of the very sources of our disintegration or alteration as a society, which is the encoding of words, the transformation of language into the heart and soul of the digital dimension (Gillespie, n,p). This rather programming theme is not severely exploited by the author, in the sense that it does not consists on line after line of an official web developing language used with poetic purposes of protest against the code itself. Instead, it goes, like a cubical bullet, to the essence of the systematic perception with which these codes have progressively deconstructed the world around us transforming it in a place which not only can but must be understood exclusively through the lens of their rivers of information. The briefness and sharpness of every verse in the face of the cube, and the link between the last word and the following poem’s stanza subtlety insinuates that we are dealing with the bones of the digital artifice. That we, by clicking, are fighting against the illusion from within the illusion itself. The sequential poems protest against the bombing of society, both by media and by American planes, but I consider that their true merit is to generate a deeper and more intuitive protest against the limitations with which the screen is constraining human perception to operate within their borders, reducing the real world and the real complex experiences of individual and collective life to mere collateral data which sole purpose is to be, sooner or later, processed.
, In this line of thought, the second piece, presented under the weight of Mayakovski’s name and poetical principles, takes the concept of processing to an interesting level of composition. The combination of all the forms of expression allowed by the digital medium, audio, video and text, results are a little overwhelming at first, as any baroque work is supposed to, and I in particular did not like the sound with which “the mechanism” orbits with its links escaping the pulse of the reader. However, after a little exploration and adaptation to the proposal the element of subtlety, the transmission of their protest also strikes. In this case, I could perceive a contrast between the worldliness and melodramatic density of “the manifesto” and overall textual parts, in comparison with the precision of their visual content. In this case, I could not connect to their texts, which I perceived too alarmist and overindulging with this alarmism, as well as I did to their images (Szilak, n,p). However, the proposal itself seemed interesting for offering an interactive platform which is also able to produce surprise after every click, guaranteeing the evolution from the turn of the page to this multilayered construct in which many levels of the human experience, legacy, perception and unsettledness are condensed into the dynamic of the digital space.
In this sense, another interesting element I found in both pieces is the use of idealism, in terms of the digital era and its writers. For the first piece, the symbol of “Linus” represents the very voice of these artists in their rebellious struggle for taking human expression and creativity one step further, to regions which, however subtlety, have not been explore. On the other hand, in the second piece, the notion of “Kitsch” makes reference to this new form of language, which is ironically seeking to transcend the limits of ordinary language in terms of form and content, in order to provide not a text but an experience capable of stimulating imagination and expanding the possibilities of the digital realm with aesthetics purposes in which another subtle element is a thread of nostalgia towards the past; the times when books and poems were regarded with the place today reserved, or conquered, by the tactile screen.
To conclude, it can be summarized that the pieces in question are truly original creative works, with the main purpose of stimulating the imagination of the reader through the offering of an interactive environment which stands in protest against the limitations and superficialities of our contemporary and technologically saturated way of life.
Gillespie, W. Letter to Linus. Electronic Literature Collection, 2001. https://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/gillespie_letter_to_linus.html
Szilak, I. Reconstructin Mayakovsky. Electronic Literature Collection, 2008. http://www.reconstructingmayakovsky.com/