Homenaje a Wlademir Dias-Pino: when a digital poem revisits an e-lit antecedent

Abstract (in English): 

In 1956, the Brazilian avant-garde poet Wlademir Dias-Pino published one of his most famous books: A Ave. All copies of this conceptual work were produced in a craft press, and the content and form of the text (a process poem, as Dias-Pino called it) are inextricable from the materiality of the book, composed of superimposed perforated pages of different colors and transparency levels, with printed letters and polygonal lines. Scholars have considered A Ave an analog predecessor of new media poetry, reflecting on the affordances of paper, ink, punch hole, and bookbinding, and their creative use in a book of visual poetry centered on the imagery of birds in flight. Wlademir Dias-Pino also wrote theoretical texts and a manifest that point to the permutational and the procedural nature of poetic language as code. His contributions as an antecedent to Latin-American digital literature still require further investigation, especially because scholars interested in the history of new media poetry in the continent often pay more attention to the Brazilian concrete poets from São Paulo, such as Augusto de Campos, Haroldo de Campos, and Décio Pignatari. Nonetheless, an important gesture of acknowledging Dias-Pino’s contribution to the field was made by the Uruguayan poet Clemente Padín, who created in 2003 the Flash piece Homenaje a Wlademir Dias-Pino. In this animation, a bird graphically constructed as a calligram is seen in flight, and the animal’s body and wings are made of a combination of words that allude to the metadata of A Ave among apparently random ASCII symbols. Padín’s work is included in the Litelat Anthology, but it can no longer be accessed in its “original” format due to the obsolescence of Flash. Although this might initially seem just a setback, the limited temporality of Flash has more to say: as a technological platform with its own lifecycle, it highlights the historicity of Homenaje a Wlademir Dias-Pino as a piece of electronic literature produced for specific software from a specific age. A Ave, on the other hand, is a piece of analog procedural literature meant to be read without any extraneous device, but also susceptible to the physical deterioration that all material culture is liable to. This poster presents some reflections on convergences and dissonances between Wlademir Dias-Pino’s A Ave and Clemente Padín’s Homenaje a Wlademir Dias-Pino, considering both artists’ aesthetic projects, the poetic codes they used, and the affordances of the materialities in which they inscribed their images of birds in flight. We intend to point out how the work by a prominent predecessor of electronic literature is revisited by an established digital artist of our times in a dialogue that is of much interest to the community of Latin American e-lit and to that of electronic literature as a whole.

Pereira ELO 2021 Poster
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Carlota Salvado...