Individual Work

José Aburto is a a Peruvian poet who developed Grita, a digital work originally available on the author's website. To locate the work, select the tab “Orales.” The work was subsequently selected to be part of the Electronic Literature Collection 3. This technopoem proposes to make a digital poem through the sound of the voice and to be filmed by a webcam (previously authorized by the user). It is a performative work made in 2005 that calls for collaboration and interaction with those who use it, “to be written” through their shout. The word “grita” means “shout!” in Spanish and this imperative action suggested by the tittle is a requirement that makes the work possible and demands that the “reader/user” experiment with their voice becoming more and more urgent each shout. How is this shout heard by others that are near to those who produce it? For the poem to exist, something stimulating has to happen, something related to our own bodies that has been repressed by socialization. In Grita, both poet and reader combine to generate the poem. Shouting and poetry suggest a connection to the human condition, a primal link that gives place to a Babel of languages.

The translation of the initial and external, organic cry by the machine is always transformed into a poem in Spanish. While this technopoem does not explicitly reference any particular nation, there is a reference to the power of Spanish nowadays globally and within electronic literature. In other words, the precedence of Spanish here suggests a Latin American zone that makes the work possible. Traditions, conquests, revolutions: the cry is a way to express a primal articulation of words, made even more so when combined with the red color of the interface and the violent or powerful connotations of the imperative that tells us what to do with the work. The poem welcomes the cries of those who come as guests searching for this refuge and this power, and although the results are always in Spanish, this language is hospitable to anyone who wants to experiment with it.

This work is part of the, whose slogan is “La poesía cambió de estado” (“Poetry changes its condition” (our translation)). Regarding this phrase, we could think that Grita, as with many others of Aburto's works, is looking for a transformation in the current way of making poetry on many levels: the material of the poem (orality, writing, drawing), the performance of readers/users, the interaction, the generativity, the listening, the form acquired by the poem. In the repetition of those silent cries of contemporary urbanized society, Aburto recovers an organic form of words that suggests a universalizing sense of poetry as a common language.