A panel addressing the locations we posit for for texts and the locations of political bodies, performative bodies, and gendered bodies within their architecture.
Abraham Avnisan, “Collocations” (reading & presentation)
Collocations appropriates two key texts from Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein’s historic debates about the complementary relationship between position and momentum on the one hand, and determinacy and indeterminacy on the other. In quantum mechanics, that relationship is mediated by an experimental apparatus through which the experimenter observes the phenomenon in question; in Collocations, the tablet computer is that experimental apparatus, and the user’s choice to manipulate either its position or momentum allows certain poetic texts to become determinate at the expense of others. As the user manipulates the device in space, certain words from within Bohr and Einstein’s original texts begin to vibrate, becoming highlighted and forming poetic subtexts. Striking a delicate balance between completely predetermined and randomly generated texts, these poems embody the fundamental indeterminacy of matter without sacrificing poetic agency. At the intersection of science, art, language and code, Collocations posits a new quantum poetics that disrupts classical notions of textuality and offers new possibilities for reading.The experimental findings of quantum mechanics in the early 20th century constituted a profound disruption of prevailing world views whose reverberations continue to be felt today. Building on the transdisciplinary work of particle physicist and feminist theorist Karen Barad, Collocations develops a quantum poetics by reading the scientific and philosophical implications of quantum mechanics across the disciplines of experimental literature and interactive media arts. If quantum mechanics radically undermines the classical picture of the world described by Newtonian mechanics and Cartesian metaphysics, the successful translation of quantum mechanics from a physical theory into a textual system must reconceive classical notions of authorship, textuality and the act of reading itself.
Luke Pendrell, “Ignis Fatuus (Ghost Light)” (film screening with possible reading)
“Plagiarism is necessary. Progress depends on it. It sticks close to an author’s phrasing, exploits his expressions, deletes a false idea, replaces it with the right one. Détournement is the opposite of quotation...” (Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, 1967) Ignis Fatuus takes Debord’s imperative at its word by appropriating and reworking the text of his seminal 1967 text ‘The society of The Spectacle’. The reconfigured text is collaged with a staccato monochromatic montage of subliminal images and cinematic fragments; the hyper-detritus of consumer capitalism over scored with an unsettling soundtrack of glitch and rupture. “The flat eclecticism of the New Aesthetic and the Post-Internet generation—an endlessly multifarious universe that comes prequantified into discrete and isomorphic tumblr thumbnails.” (Mackay, Pendrell and Trafford, Speculative Aesthetics, 2014) The uncannily prescient spectre of Debord haunts the footage throughout. A malign revenant, its scabrous critique as caustically damning of contemporary interactive media as it once was of film and television. More than just Derridean word games or mournful ‘Hauntological’ nostalgia for lost radicalism, Ignis Fatuus conjures ghostly echoes and disturbing undercurrents in contemporary life, a dark parallax to the perception of social media as a benign creative space of opportunity and friendship. The ghost, rather than supernatural relic of a primitive age, is an increasingly prevalent aspect of the modern world. Immateriality and spectrality are axiomatic to the digital realms we inhabit. Life has become an immense accumulation of ghosts. Everything that was once directly lived is now haunted by itself.
Edwin Torres, “On the Precipice of Edge and Trigger” (solo presentation)
Out of the layers presented in the form of our bodies, in the guise of our skin — are the valleys between each layer. The peaks at the center of each motion, from step to step, is the movement that calls itself human. The layers we present are the edges that make us human. To be human is not to deﬁne but to be. To be poet is to undefine…beginning with the edges we present. The imaginary page — my identity, my story — the one at the margins. The corners I view from safe distances, such as — not here. I'd like to present a 20 minute talk exploring the tools poets use to extend past the seeming edges of language and to articulate the rich “between” spaces – between sound and deﬁnition, body and nation – that drive our poetry in hidden, powerful ways. Where does the body leave the poet in the making of the poem? Where does the voice replace the body in the creating of the poet? The sensory imperfections of the world are the transitory episodes that envelop, contain and release you. Your edge is incredibly porous, your existence, unfolding within it. Your skin doesn’t keep the universe away. Instead it is the edge that joins your existence to everything else. And this conference is an exchange of supernatural edges — using language as the trigger to our edge.
My talk (adapted from and utilizing some material intended for the cancelled 'Speculative Academies' panel) will outline and demonstrate (with a speed screen-reading and a skid across an algorithmic map) a tentative methodological path for augmented exploratory writing that attempts to retain and reframe the author in an era of entropic machines.