Against E-Poets

Creative Work
Public Domain
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Description (in English): 

Artistic reenactment of the speech “Against Poets” from Buenois Aires from 1947 with using digital media 

Witold Gombrowicz (one of the most important Polish writers and an icon of XX century European literature) spent almost 25 years in Buenos Aires. In 1947 he gave a talk "Against Poets" at Fray Mocho’s bookshop, then in 1951 he publish the text in "Kultura" in Paris, which provoked a lot of poets and scholars to respond, e.g. Czeslaw Milosz (Nobel Prize winner). In this well known statement Gombrowicz attacked the very institution of Poetry (Form), as a kind of religion. The institution of Poetry attacked him back. Such controversies give a kind of new energy and awareness to the field and get artists out of their routine positions. The point of departure for this project is to reenact his statement in the new digital context. 

Nowadays there are a lot of attacks, controversies in the public sphere, and also in literary, artworld circles (on the Internet). We are going to research and mix some „attacking-” and „against-” poetics. Using words, phrases, sentences which we find in a selected cultural contexts (European, Argentinian, American) we will produce a generated speech reenactment in a new context in which artists, writers, and also anonymous Internet haters attacked eachother. To produce such an output we will create an archive which will provide input for the generation of speeches. This project has one goal: to unify the community through controversy. We hope to give rise to a variety of emotions among the e-poets (support, rejection, disgust, lack of interest). 

"In 2015, E-Poetry, which is headquartered in Buffalo, New York, organized its festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Spanish and Portuguese languages seemed to take a leading role during research presentations as well as artistic events. During the festival segment titled NEW PATHS, NEW VOICES/NUEVAS RUTAS, NUEVAS VOCES, a coalition was forged against the domination of the English language in the field. During a performance (an intentionally antagonistic one, dedicated to trolling) presented in Spanish and Polish and abiding by the spirit of major Internet trolling strategies, it was established that the name of the coalition would not be announced in English, and the performance also was expressly forbidden from being translated to English. This was a gesture aimed at opposing the most significant type of domination in the field—namely, language domination and all the hegemonic practices that stem from it. It was a move modeled after that of the Coalition Against Gringpo5 and assumed this sort of trolling approach as a reply to having languages and practices identified as being at the ‘end(s)’. "

Piotr Marecki, Nick Montfort, Renderings: Translating literary works in the digital age


“En una sala a oscuras, de espaldas al público, un hombre de estatura media, pelo canoso y un cuerpo de apariencia frágil recita algo en una lengua que no existe pero en la que se distinguen rasgos de todas partes: sonidos nasales franceses o polacos, morfemas en español, aglutinaciones de consonantes de ecos indoamericanos, entonaciones tangueras, vocales cerradas anglófilas"

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Piotr Marecki