Project: Algolit

About automatic writing and autocomplete: the poetics of technology

Writing and reading are no longer the exclusive right of the paper. For most authors, their practice is intimately intertwined with software and a networked infrastructure. What does it mean to consciously include this technological context in the literary creation process? How does the use of code - active or passive - change the notion of literature? What happens to the status of the author? And the role of the reader?

Allison Parrish, poet and professor of literary creation with code at NY University, suggests during this evening that computer-generated writing is a continuation of the dissociative experience of traditional automatic writing, which surrealists practiced to restore an oppressed primal consciousness. Parrish starts from the experimental work of Gertrude Stein. For Parrish, computer-generated literature is also a way of critically examining the materiality of writing, the physical and social context in which technologies live.

Young writers today also use software and networked technology without actively programming. Poets Rene Oskam and Zaineb Hamdi, for example, publish their poetry on instagram and have a virtual reading audience. For wtFOCK, the director Cecilia Verheyden created a story world that only exists online. In the second part of the programme we will discuss the forms that virtual texts can take and the specific work processes of an instagram poet and online director.

Allison Parrish will give a workshop the next day at the Mundaneum. She has been invited to the ’Data Workers’ exhibition with the support of: Ugent, DHuF - Digital Humanities Flanders, Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles/Arts Numériques, Arts² and Constant.

@ Passa Porta

rue Antoine Dansaertstraat 46, 1000 Brussels