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Góngora Wordtoys (Soledades)

Creative Work
Author: 
Year: 
2011
Platform/Software: 
Record Status: 
Description (in English): 

Góngora Word Toys is a collection of digital poems that explicitly engage with the work of Spanish Baroque poet, Luis de Góngora. The collection includes five interactive poems, each engaging with a different aspect of Góngora's poem Soledades: "Dedicatoria espiral" (Spiral Dedication), "En breve espacio mucha primavera" (A Lot of Spring in a Little Space), "El llanto del peregrino" (The Pilgrim's Cry)," Delicias del Parnaso" (Delicacies of the Parnassus) and "El arte de cetrería" (The Art of Falconry). 

Composed in 1613, Góngora's Soledades is a long silva poem about the wonderings of an anonymous castaway after his ship wrecks in an island. Soledades is paradigmatic for its difficult grammatical structures and the over-abundance of erudite and mythological allusions and references. The poem stresses rhythm, and rejoices in the opacity of Baroque language. Similarly, Gache's digital take on Góngora's work underscores the plasticity of language and its ability to create complex structures. 

The first poem, "Dedicatoria espiral" relocates the rhythm and rhetorical intricacy in Soledades’ dedication to the Duque de Béjar by transforming the verses into a moving spiral that turns clockwise or counterclockwise depending on where the reader places the cursor. The display of the text is altered by reader movements. 

"En breve espacio poca primavera" takes on a hypertextual form where text blossoms like flowers. Every time the reader activates a link, new windows pop up filling up the space on the screen, masking meaning like baroque "culteranismo." 

"Delicias del Parnaso" is a multi-option game poem, where the reader needs to choose between possible verses to complete Góngora's poem. Selection becomes reading technique. 

"El llanto del peregrino" is also a game poem. Along with the avatar, the reader moves around the new environment and walks in between words using the keyboard arrow keys. The poem works like a platform game based on spatial navigation. 

Finally, "El arte de la cetrería" presents eight birds (those appearing in Góngora's poem) all talking through mechanical voice processors. The final cacophony makes listening of the individual voices impossible, again underscoring the overall form of the piece and the mechanics of language and writing.

Author statement: 

En el período barroco, el equilibrado mundo clásico deja lugar a un mundo inestable, descentrado, escondido tras el abigarramiento de los signos. El Góngora de las Soledades ha sido comparado incluso con el astrónomo Kepler y la órbita elíptica de la Tierra con las elipsis gongorinas del lenguaje. Siguiendo su trabajo con los Wordtoys, Belén Gache nos presenta los Gongora Wordtoys (Soledades) basados en la obra del poeta español. Se tratade 5 poemas digitales interactivos (Dedicatoria espiral, En breve espacio mucha primavera, El llanto del peregrino, Delicias del Parnaso y El arte de cetrería), que remiten a un universo barroco de espirales, pliegues y laberintos del lenguaje. 

From the Electronic Literature Directory 

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Record posted by: 
Alex Saum