Interpoetry: the digital manifesto

Monday April 26th, 2004.

Interpoetry: the digital manifesto [1]

Wilton Azevedo

The technological apparatus and the images originated from machines which make the copied things be regurgitated to the world in the form of transistors (miniature) have been considering the study of languages and their production inserted in a muldisciplinary and intersemiotic necessity. There is no possibility to keep away from the digital means as registry of human intellect and specially as a new scripture in the service of artistic production.

Art, particularly what had been done in the last one hundred years, was distinguished for adding to the pictorial system and even to poetry entropic elements which produced kind of noise, transforming the so-called vanguard artistic production into a noise production machine. Therefore, the artist bestowed upon the human species the documentation of an artistic index which had its validity called in question about the here-and-now registry.

The actual war against the masterpiece nowness showed indication of the first controversy about what we now call interactivity. This appraisal can be done today in a more comprehensive manner due to the fact that the digital world and its software have offered each and every kind of language in the service of non-linearity - highly recommended by the artistic exercise of this century - determining a new notion of frontier among the codes. From this praxis a poem emerges placing the public as the most important agent in the process of creation and intervention and in the manner of reading and obtaining new signs every single moment. Therefore, Interpoetry was born, an intersign exercise which makes evident the meaning of the sign transit of the digital media, giving birth to what could be called a new reading era.

This kind of reading originated from a numerical scripture - known as program - produces a language that besides being hybrid, destroys the orthodox concepts about the sender and the receiver (1) and also places the digital language as a language empowered by the reader giving him or her the right to bring it up to date or renew it at any moment, emptying the immovable and passive character that the analogical and traditional languages marked the public when distinguishing them merely as receivers.

The cryographic (6) aspect of the traditional images, exactly what provides the creation of a freezing looking culture related to the instant of the image now changes due to the public intervention on what we use to call masterpiece, this movable instant does not exist any more and neither does the idea of a ready work of art.

This new Theseus can obtain several different rhizomatous alternatives in the new labyrinth of texts, if compared to the printed media, for instance. The problem now is that this system has to be surpassed getting rid of the historic thickness of the traditional media, however if the new Theseus does not have to tie a string to find out the exit - the happy end - any more, it does not mean that the string does not exist. As in our lives we do not have just one version of our own stories, the hypermedia offers a possibility of a multidisciplinary scripture and also a commitment with intersignical poetry. It is a well-known fact that during the Middle Ages the story teller told stories to those who did not understand the language of the scriptures and that nowadays we need film directors to tell us the same stories because we do not apprehend the scriptures of the cinematographic language. In a near future the programs of authorship probably will be transformed into a possibility to lead us to become narrators of our own stories and mediators of our own existence when in need to tell our own story:

The superior demands mediation from the inferior. With no background of invisibility, there is no form of visibility. With no agony of precariousness, there is no need of a memorial. The immortal ones are not used to taking pictures among themselves. God is light; only the human beings are photographers In fact, only the one who passes, and yet is aware of it, wants to remain.” ( Debray, 1993:28 )

Considering that we spend most of our time with these prostheses which create images and the virtual environment - the computers - our ‘agony of precariousness’ will not be connected to how much the human language has of perishability but to what is needed to be simulated in this equipment in order to estimate the language of the unknown or even what has to come and become.

The dream of immortality is exactly what offers us the possibility of creating several different stories with potential ends and the perishability and temporariness of life is what bestows a linear character to the language - paraphrasing Borges, the conclusion of the work may occur many times because of the author’s tiredness.

Nowadays, we converse with machines rather than with ‘carnal beings’. According to Santaella (1996:166), the noologic beings have been multiplied more and more and it is the sign theory which can conduct an analysis of a more interactive vision of such languages. If these prostheses with ‘eyes’, ‘brains’, ‘ears’ and ‘mouths’ regurgitate the world in its likeness, it is necessary to reconsider this disruption for the digital means ( through algorithms) have been closer to human life day after day.

If in the twenty century art manifests were considered of high importance to gather the artistic languages concerning their semiotic interests, in this new coming century interactivity gives the user the opportunity to create his or her own manifes : interaction.

Wilton Azevedo São Paulo 1998

[1] This text was written during the production of the CD Rom Interpoesia in 1998, it is part of the CD.