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About Visual Poetry
article [ Art ]

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
by [Neisa Conta ]

2005-09-23  |   

Literary Translation - Translations of classic and original poetry and other materialsThis text is a follow-up  | 




About Visual Poetry

In what follows I am going to present you two theories - my own and that of a famous creator - in regards to something bearing the contemporary name of Visual Poetry. I say contemporary because this art genre has actually started to circulate under different forms and denominations since as early as 1950. Actually it goes back even farther than that, given this poetry genre was officially acknowledged at about 1500, according to *The Harvard Library Bulletin "Material Poetry of the Renaissance/ The Renaissance of Material Poetry", Edited by Roland Greene, Summer 1992, Vol. 3, No. 2.* (the attached piece of work is a sample that illustrates this theory: it belongs to Hrabanus Marus and it’s called "De adoratione crucis ab opifice / De Laudibus Sanctae Crucis",Augsburg, 1605)



In any case, this article does not claim to be writing the history of the genre in question, but rather to offer an insight… Therefore…

My Opinion

motto: I am the curtain of colored words>

Visual Poetry is the combination striving to perfection (or tending asymptotically towards infinity), between two artistic expressions/art forms that I am very fond of: poetry and graphic art. Or, put it differently, the combination between The Word (the Logos-the Thought- the Voice) and the Deed (the Visual –the Tactile –the Sign). It is NOT about illustrating one with the other, but rather exacerbating one with the other. It’s the fourth dimension, yet another degree of freedom, if you want: the exponential freedom. The concave mirror reflected into the convex mirror.
I believe that in the 21st Century the thought is perceived dramatically different than in the 20th Century. And it isn’t speed that I have in mind, but rather interdisciplinarity. People have learned to receive more, being constantly bombarded with information, which is why they’ve learned to ask for more too, spiritually speaking. Camil Petrescu (t.n: Romanian famous writer) wrote almost a century ago about the man who ‘saw ideas’ (1918 –The Fairies’ Game). It sounded quite frightening at the time –and perhaps it still does. I’m still afraid of driving fast, of betting all on red at the roulette, of playing with the glass beads (t.n.: quoting Herman Hesse’s book). But hey… I love it though!
Sometimes I’m afraid of stepping out the door (That’s the answer I used to give my mother when she expressed worries like ‘take care how you drive’ or ‘where you go’… or ‘what business do you have with those people’)… The most dangerous thing is stepping out of the house. Once you’ve taken the risk, you might as well explore the surroundings… first, up to the gate… then up to the street corner… and while you’re there already, you can very well take that small step for you – and big for the mankind, or conversely, big for you and small for the mankind…. And then just do that over and over again…
But this fright/fear is fuel for the creation itself. I’m afraid –therefore I create. Or pro-create, respectively… Well, I believe that’s the only salvation, as we grow old, to put our beauty into something else that can grow while we’re getting smaller.

Giselle Beiguelman’s opinion
1 - What does Visual Poetry mean to you?
Visual poetry is born of the encounter between the artist and the page's materiality and the hybrid nature of letters and symbols capable of making relevant the limits between images and texts.
2 - Who were and/or are your sources of inspiration, your models (either poets or artistic movements) in this artistic medium?
In the area of the poetics of literature my references are Oswald de Andrade, Augusto de Campos, Mallarmé and the Calligrams of Apollinaire. But also narratives are important forms and in this respect I point out: Hemingway, John dos Passos, Virginia Woolf and Ignácio de Loyola Brandão (Zero). I can’t forget to mention the cyberpoets that marked my literary horizon: the twosome JODI, , Mark Napier, Mark Amerika and Olia Lialiana.
3 - Why did you choose to create, or why do you enjoy creating, Visual Poetry as one of your artistic expressions?
What I write above all is a digital poetry, fruit of the encounter with an alphanumerical cyberspace. I try to always deal with the font symbols as if I were entering the underside of the screen in order to face and converse with the specificity of a writing and a reading that is executed on the web. It’s the poetics of the web that interests me.
4 - When did you first adopt Visual Poetry as a mode of expression?
Then I realized that the production of a critical discourse on the Internet implied the necessity of weaving this discourse dealing with the Net’s own plots, that in itself is poetic, as it mixes with the limits of texts, images and places. On the Web, the text is acondition of the visualization of images that are all addressed in relation to the server, and for that reason make the written text become its own reference to a space without volume.
Biography
Giselle Beiguelman, Ph.D, is a professor in the graduate program at the Communication and Semiotics Department of PUC -SP. A multimedia essayist and web-artist who lives in São Paulo, Brazil, where she was born (1962), Beiguelman has presented her web works in exhibits, festivals and scientific events devoted to new media art, such as Net_Condition (ZKM, Karlshrue, 1999), P0es1s (Munich, MedienForun, 2000), Netáforas (MECAD, Barcelona 2001) and (re)distributions (Voyd.com, 2001). A member of the 10th ISEA International Program Committee since 1998, she currently runs desvirtual.com, an editorial where her personal projects, such as "The Book After The Book," and "Wopart," are based.



Link to Giselle’s website: http://www.desvirtual.com

Link to Early Visual Poetry: http://www.ubu.com/historical/early/early.html


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