Words Unstable On The Table

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09.06.2013 to 26.06.2013
Watermans Art Centre/Riverside Gallery
40 High Street
TW8 0DS Brentford
United Kingdom
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This exhibition has been arranged in conjunction with the E-Poetry [2013] Festival at Kingston University, London. The works were selected from the submissions to the festival and taking into account the Riverside Gallery's space at the Watermans.

It has now been twelve years since the first E-Poetry Festival took place in 2001 in Buffalo, USA. According to Dr. Glazier, the artistic director of the E-Poetry Festivals, this is the longest-running festival celebrating the new, innovative, and leading works in digital poetics. It is a multicultural festival, gathering creators from all continents, to present artists' talks, scholarly papers, and performances and it is celebrated biennially at different international host institutions.

The Electronic Poetry Centre in Buffalo (EPC) and the Electronic Literature Organisation (ELO) are the most significant institutions promoting works of e-poetry and e-lit through their publications and events. Many academic programmes all over the world cover these studies, as well as some instrumental databases EPC (Buffalo), ELMCIP (Norway) and Hermeneia (Barcelona) where materials are constantly updated. Notwithstanding, this is a field that still lacks visibility in the UK. Traditional humanities departments are slowly welcoming digital media and it is now that this creative practice and research can become more relevant in their academic programmes. Due to its interdisciplinary nature many discussions have taken place about where to position this work, whether in the arts, literature or new media and this becomes apparent in the works in the show. Questions such as; what is literary in these works? What are the roles of the reader, the writer, the author? What is the actual text? Is it the language? The images? The sounds? Is it the combination of all three? Is it the programmable language? The software used? What are the grammars? These are all questions, which have been in the minds of many of us for years, and still are, but we have also moved on. We have embraced new technologies, and the new possibilities electronic platforms are bringing to the new reader/writer, we are eager to investigate and explore aesthetic and poetic possibilities, methods of interaction, engagement and participation. In a medium in flux, the whole point is about questioning the stable and focusing on the process of producing, creating and evolving in/with the unstable. Words such as medium, unstable, malleable, in flux (R.Lanham) become the familiar as opposed to words such as stable, linear, centered.

This is the reason behind the title for this exhibition. It highlights a communal characteristic in all the works; words are in flux inhabiting fluid spaces, they generate, erase, delete and fade away to generate again. There is an infatuation with language and, at the same time, an obliteration of it. We should then question: what are the new languages? How can we explore dierent writing styles and interactive poetics/aesthetics? What are these new technologies and networks offering for writing and creative practices? The works in the exhibition touch upon a variety of themes, literary, cultural, social and historical aspects such as; nature, identity, gender, multilingualism, reading, remixing, translation, e-vanescence, online-communication and digital culture. And they do so by combining different software, programming languages, mobile technology, network possibilities and new media tools, to produce a wide spectrum of creative practice in the form of game-like structures, videos, digital-poems, net.art and language new media art. Practice has always been the leading force of E-Poetry and hopefully this exhibition gives the multimedial and multimodal reader the opportunity to explore and experience the works of this inspiring and constantly emerging field.

Artists: Johannes Heldén, Martha McCollough, Zuzana Husárová/Lubomír Panák, María Mencía &J. Miftah-R. Yacouby (Prog.), Nick Montfort/Amaranth Borsuk/Jesper Juul, Jason Nelson, Ottar Ormstad, Martin Rieser, Christine Wilks/Andy Campbell.

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Patricia Tomaszek
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