Introduction to the Archive - http://www.elettroletteratura.org/
Heretic Languages: the “Hybrid” Literature
An archive of Italian artists - their works to be considered under the "electronic literature" umbrella – is difficult to create for several reasons: first of all, because literature has been undergoing a structural transformation during the recent years, due to the fact that our spoken and written languages are joined by languages which are composed of static and moving images, and often mixed with texts and hypertexts. Electronic literature was born as the simple translation of printed literature on paper to printed literature on video .
This new literature expanded its field as it evolved, crossing and transforming video art too. An archive of Italian artists in this field thus forces us to analyze what is meant by electronic literature nowadays.
In order to approach a possible definition we must look - by going back over the years - at all those events in the history of thought, technology and art, that have shared in the expression of the medium, which has been the basis for communication systems, in primis writing in its different forms realized by scientific (technological) advancement. We cannot say anymore that a poem, a novel, a story, a play or simply put, any text that is written by a computer is a work of electronic literature. However, the big difference that exists between old writing systems and contemporary writing systems has produced considerable changes not only in the techniques of "writing" and "reading", but also in the methodologies of the design and creation of literary products.
I must stress the importance of the possibilities and opportunities offered by the new technologies: the ability to correct, transpose, and duplicate words, passages, full pages, groups of pages or entire texts, while still allowing the facility after any and all changes to go back to its original state. It is one thing is to write by hand with a pen on a notebook with sheets bound together, another thing to use a mechanical typewriter with sheets separated from each other, and yet another to write using a personal computer (equipped with writing software) on virtual paper.
The first two cases are strongly linked to the manual and the physical, so it is difficult to disentangle the many knock-on effects spread out across many pages where a correction could transform not only the content but also the layout of the pages. Not to mention that with very large texts, for example more than 100 pages, the search for a word becomes a complex and tedious enough duty that the search itself is discouraged.
All these actions can easily be performed thanks to a few commands built into the computer, we build on the work of others and they in turn leverage the work of others. Everything runs at a speed unthinkable for the other two systems. To these considerations another must be added: the possibility enabled by the computer of architecting the composition of the single page, to insert images, considering their relationship with the text, the cover, the structure of the book: that is to say that with computer writing one has the chance to see the product, the "book", as typographically released from the publisher.
These features of the computer writing, give a different conception of time and space . They influence the ideational modes of writing, they leave the mark of their existence on the writer’s style and before that on how we use the language. Nowadays, anyone can start up a blog somewhere on the internet and publish a virtual newspaper. Anyone can not only publish, but also potentially distribute his or her book becoming a publisher. The selection is not based on capital, but on everyone’s real capacities allowing the realization of opportunities that break down the hierarchies imposed by a capitalist society. The presence of greater liberty, frees also those media, like television, enabling new ways of mass communication. Such considerations cannot fail to interfere additionally and perhaps principally with the definition of the new literature.
The "virtual libraries" around the world, offer a new way of thinking about the book, how to read it and how to disseminate it. These changes concern both the way of writing and the way of reading on a computer. The development of more and more sophisticated technology, first to emulate the traditional book’s page with its own characteristics, then to make possible the existence of an instrument that has not only particular elements of the book, but also those more closely linked to the computer, has radically changed and will continue to challenge the relationship between book-author-reader.
In not very many years, since 1990, many of these types of devices have been created: the Franklin that to some extent was also meant to read and not just to interact with dictionaries or encyclopedia , the eBookMan, linking the functionality of an e-book to a sort of organizer, the Sony Data Discman, a kind of modern laptop, the Sony Bookman, even more similar to laptops, the Rocket eBook by Barnes & Noble, the SoftBook which was an e-book that could connect to the internet, the RCA REB 1100 and 1200, more recently the Amazon Kindle, the Nook by Barnes & Noble. In particular, the Kindle and Nook are produced by companies that also provide the content for these tools.
This prevented the spread of these tools. Already in the nineties one could find on the market the presence of hand-held computers that join the e-book. Then they became phones and now, smartphones and netbooks and tablet computers, putting forward new ways of writing and reading in mobility.
This process culminated in our times with the creation of Apple's iPad. These technologies not only transform the reading and writing practices, but propose new relationships between communication and writing, speaking and reading, and ultimately they redesign the process of communication between reader and author, offering more and more the possibility of identification between those who produce content and those who consume them.
We should also consider that, once again, the internet acts deeply on these variations of cultural and productive roles. The internet, as mentioned, potentially allows everyone to create personal blogs, to produce and to publish.
There has never been a book that had a movie sequence embedded in its pages, a moving text inside it, that had the possibility with a simple click of accessing other texts (hypertext). The images contained in books have always been static images. So it is the web-page that ruled in a decisive way the purist definition of electronic literature. However, if one considers the way in which the video, even before computers, was used by artists, mostly painters, we must admit that a new language was born and therefore a new literature made possible, also made of moving images. Luigi Veronesi wrote in 1943: “I film assoluti, proiettati singoli o simultaneamente, nello spazio, su schermi multipli, trasparenti, su piani differenti, su schermi di sostanze gassose-permeabili ai corpi e ai colori, diranno parole nuove agli uomini.”
The moving images and the supports on which they will be presented "will say new words to the people" sounds almost like an anticipation of the possible emergence of a new literature which is based on mechanisms that are able to make the movement of images a language with its own grammatical rules and syntax.
Mechanisms able not only to investigate and know but also more properly to describe the real, just as written and spoken languages have always done. Veronesi’s sentence also anticipates the importance of taking into consideration the support of the work, studies already performed by the Bauhaus crew during the twenties and that nowadays is mainly constituted by the internet: an intangible support (gaseous) and "permeable to the bodies and colors", just like Veronesi said... Believing that a theory of communication acknowledging the use of static and moving images is possible, it is also demonstrated by the theoretical work on montage made by Eizenstei n from 1935 to 1937 . Francesco Casetti wrote in the introduction to “Sergei M. Eizenstein, Teoria generale del montaggio”: “[…] bisogna oltrepassare la semplice rappresentazione ed elaborare un'immagine. Ma la costruzione di quest'ultima, vero strumento chiave per cogliere le cose oltre che in se stesse anche nella loro generalità, sottostà ad alcune condizioni[...] si tratterà del modo in cui vengono distribuite le diverse componenti del quadro […], a livello della sequenza , si tratterà del modo in cui vengono concatenate le diverse inquadrature e dell'andamento che ne marca la scansione; a livello del film compiuto, si tratterà del modo in cui sono coordinati i vari stimoli visivi e sonori. […]Dunque una distribuzione, una concatenazione, una coordinazione: bisogna pur sempre scomporre e riarticolare, smembrare e rifondere; in una parola bisogna pur sempre operare un montaggio. Questo nel cinema; ma osservazioni analoghe possono essere condotte anche per la letteratura, la pittura, la musica.” Thus, the montage is the research subject of the Russian director that allows him to ultimately produce a set of rules, a sort of grammar and syntax for composing cinematographically moving images. These theoretical essays, as Casetti pointed out, may also be applied to literature, and if they can be applied to literature, it means that the static and moving images’ system can be a language that creates its own literature .The montage is an essential parameter in order to study the relationship between mechanical media and human thought that is using it. Hence the thought of putting the sequences on a timeline in order to edit them according to meanings and descriptions of reality. Those researches have formed the basis for designing the interfaces of modern editing video software: Avid, Final Cut, or the less noble, but heavily used iMovie.
Pasolini already highlighted - in his famous passage in “heretical Empiricism” devoted to film-making - that cinematography could be a language with its own grammar and syntax, able to communicate.
“Insomma, gli uomini comunicano con le parole, non con le immagini: quindi un linguaggio specifico di immagini si presenterebbe come una pura e artificiale astrazione. Se questo ragionamento fosse giusto, come pare, il cinema non potrebbe fisicamente esserci: o, se ci fosse, sarebbe una mostruosità, una serie di segni insignificanti. Invece, il cinema comunica. Vuol dire che anch'esso si fonda su un patrimonio di segni comune.” And it is from this heritage that comes the possibility of communicating through moving or static images. In order to support this theory Pasolini emphasizes that “a system of gestural signs” is always added to the word, a complement to verbal communication, as if the cinematography turns out to be the manifestation of those gestural signs that should always go along with verbal signs in any communication. “[...] una parola (l'insegno) pronunciata con una faccia ha un significato, pronunciata con un'altra faccia ha un altro significato, magari addirittura opposto [...]” .
And this calls into question that population that, over the centuries, has made up a language of body, facial and hands signs, a language inextricably joined to the spoken language: the Neapolitans. In fact, he says: “[...] mettiamo che a parlare sia un napoletano: una parola seguita o accompagnata da un gesto ha un significato, seguita o accompagnata da un altro gesto, ha un altro significato” . “Un tale sistema di segni - continued Pasolini - può essere isolato in laboratorio e studiato come se fosse una lingua autonoma [...] è su tale ipotetico sistema di segni visivi che il linguaggio cinematografico fonda la propria possibilità pratica di esistere, di essere presupponibile per una serie di archetipi comunicativi naturali. Ciò sarebbe molto poco, certo. Ma allora bisogna subito aggiungere che il destinatario del prodotto cinematografico è anche abituato a 'leggere' visivamente la realtà, ad avere cioè un colloquio strumentale con la realtà che lo circonda in quanto ambiente di una collettività: che si esprime appunto anche con la pura e semplice presenza ottica dei suoi atti e delle sue abitudini.”
Keeping with this reasoning Pasolini, in order to introduce the cinematography of poetry, highlights the existence of a man’s world that expresses itself by using 'images' that have a certain meaning, that he intends to denote, in analogy with the “insegno”, 'im-sign'. This is the world of memory and dreams.
But Giordano Bruno was already concerned about mnemonic technique at the end of the 15th century.
“Il compito dell'indizio, del segno, del sigillo non è tanto quello di rappresentare e di significare, quanto di mostrare, come l'indice non significa o connota in sé la cosa che indica, bensì invita o sollecita a intuirla o guardarla” .
Bruno’s 'seal' refers to a mental picture produced by a conceptual action which is realized in an 'image'. The possible analogies between these words and the products made of static and moving images are very clear. “[…] In questo modo la pictura sensibile e materica risulta speculare, sorella e figlia della pictura mentis. Nel Cantus Circaeus si sottolinea come l'ars memoriae educhi lo spiritus phantasticus a dipingere le forme (adiecta) nei sostrati (subiecta) fino a renderlo capace di 'scolpirvi' le stesse forme, secondo una progressiva padronanza delle proprie tecniche immaginative.” So images as a product of imaginative ability and imagination of man.
Bruno - through this argument that gives a great communicative value to signs and symbols – highlights the ancient Egyptian sign language, hieroglyphs, which he considers the language of Gods, “dove i segni delineati e figurati mimano le cose stesse: si tratta di un linguaggio che, a differenza delle comuni lingue che si sono modificate con il tempo, è rimasto sempre lo stesso – immutabile perché lingua sofianica per eccellenza – aderendo pienamente a quello della natura” . Signs from the simplest to the most complex are the basis of every language. The Danish philosopher and linguist Louis Hjelmslev said that “[...] ogni lingua si presenta a prima vista come un sistema di segni, cioè come un sistema di unità di espressione a cui è associato un contenuto (senso). Le parole sono segni, ma anche una parte di una parola può essere un segno; per esempio una parola come in-cre-di-bi-le è un segno composto di cinque segni diversi più piccoli.”
This is to get down to the minimal sign, such as each letter. And with pictures to get to each "point, line, surface” , or in the movie each single frame. “Quando osserviamo un testo stampato o scritto vediamo che si compone di segni, e che questi si compongono a loro volta di elementi che procedono in una certa direzione determinata (da sinistra a destra se si usa l'alfabeto latino, da destra a sinistra per l'alfabeto ebraico, dall'alto in basso per l'alfabeto mongolo – ma sempre in una direzione determinata); quando ascoltiamo un testo parlato, per noi esso si compone di segni, e questi segni si compongono a loro volta di elementi che si svolgono nella direzione del tempo: alcuni vengono prima, altri dopo. I segni formano una catena, e anche gli elementi di ogni segno formano una catena.” As well as static images contained in each movie or video frame or. If instead of traditional languages one puts as the object of study what now goes under the name of electronic literature Hjelmslev's theory would be valid. He himself in the chapter on linguistic function begins by stating that: “alla comprensione o alla conoscenza di una lingua si arriva per la stessa via che porta alla conoscenza degli altri oggetti, cioè per mezzo di una descrizione. E descrivere un oggetto non può significare altro che rendersi conto dei rapporti in cui esso entra, e che entrano in esso” .
In the end their exists a literature which is another literature, that turns into electronic when the technology that underlies the exercise of that literature is made up of electronic mechanisms.
The lack in Italy, of an archive of Italian artists is due to the low interest devoted to "other" literatures by the Italian scholars and critics. The case of Parisian Calvino is emblematic. The works of that period, both as far as the production of non-fiction novels are concerned were not very much appreciated. That was Calvino’s Oulipean period. Already in “Visconte dimezzato” (1952), “Barone rampante” (1957) and “Cavaliere invisibile” (1959) Calvino’s interest for a structure that is increasingly detached from the dominant cinematographic realism has been highlighted. One should not forget that “neo-realism” had a great success with the Italian audience from 1943 to 1955, and eventually it opened up a great period for commercial movies, not only in Italy. With “Le città invisibili” (1964 – 1970) written during the years of his stay in Paris, Calvino adheres to the cultural and intellectual movements à la mode in France. Particularly he met those experimental writers who then created "structuralism", a literary movement which tended to reduce the complexity of the physical world and its events to figures and emblems, so that the writing is detached from any relationship with reality. In “Le città invisibili” in fact there is no trace of reality, everything is mental, even space and time are rarefied, abstract. The relationship with Oulipo and with combinatory literary works by Raymond Queneau (Cento Mille milliards de poèmes, 1961) lead Calvino to a deep reflection on literature and on narrative mechanisms seen from a mathematical perspective, building like this a close relationship between science and literature.
To this respect Paolo Granata’s idea is interesting. Granata relates Calvino’s work and thought to the first personal computer: “Le virtù epifaniche delle Lezioni americane nei confronti dello scenario mediatico contemporaneo si rivelano più esplicitamente quando Calvino – negli anni in cui il personal computer aveva da poco fatto il suo ingresso nella cultura di massa – riconosce nell'attuale struttura del mondo dei media quel nuovo tipo di energia capace di agire, guidare, animare la pesantezza delle macchine: il software, in tutta la sua leggerezza” .
The relationship between word and electricity has led to a short-circuit within the culture, revolutionizing all the theories and artistic practices until to propose the outcomes of digital video clips, a further transformation in the parable which had led the underground movie to the video art throughout the videotape.
The use of cameras, technology now also available on the most common mobile phones, is now accessible to everyone and the same thing happens with computers which are forcefully entering into all family homes around the world.
Video communication, for example with Skype, has made video a normal medium of communication in the same or even greater way than the written or spoken word. The new generations, children and grandchildren of the TV generation, consider these systems normal systems, I would say natural. This situation highlights the desire to break up the hierarchical divisions that still exist by the entry of high-definition television (HD), as Simonetta Fadda affirms explaining the broadcast television as a political desire to maintain the hierarchical differentiation between those who can afford high-resolution technology and those who for purely economic reasons can not access it. “[...] La natura delle immagini processate in bassa definizione, perciò, è inaccettabile perché appartiene strutturalmente a un registro estetico decisamente diverso da quello delle immagini broadcast e fotografiche, ma ciò non toglie che nei fatti funzionino benissimo come immagini […] La compartimentazione alta/bassa definizione, allora, si rivela esplicitamente come un modo di riproporre in campo televisivo quelle separazioni gerarchiche che dividono il professionista dal dilettante, l'artista dal suo pubblico o il produttore dal consumatore, su cui è basato l'ordine economico generale. La divisione alta/bassa definizione, insomma, è soprattutto un'imposizione commerciale con precisi obbiettivi di mercato che non hanno nulla a che vedere con motivazioni di carattere estetico, nonostante tutti i discorsi 'tecnici' che si possono fare al riguardo” .
So, not only the crushing of the hierarchy wanted by the market is expressed through the widespread use of technologies which are low definition but which communicate in a complete way, but also and mainly the pursuit of a modus comunicandi that gives further input to the conjugation of new literatures.
But there are other forms of interactivity in new media: the world of video games, for example, has reached such a perfection in the creation of three-dimensional images to create new parallel worlds. They must be considered as an intersection between games and movies: from the game they keep the trait of interactivity; from the movie the possibility of seeing moving images linked by an evolution of events in time and space, events that sometimes – in the more commercial games - create a real plot.
Within the production of games interactive fiction would need a separate discussion, having in its structure the use of traditional literature, the computer and programming languages.
Although it can be considered like "text adventure" games, interactive fiction presents too many elements that put it in conjunction with electronic literature. Interactive fiction is developed by using the Inform language. Around 1977 and during the early eighties, these products were even able to have a market, then they disappeared when we moved from textual interaction to visual interaction. Nevertheless there is still a community, not so small, fans, who continue to use this method to create narratives that have the particularity to be interactive, and by making appropriate questions they involve the reader into the development of the history.
In order to write these stories one needs to know the Inform language that has been specifically designed to create interactive fiction. Like all computer languages Inform is also based on English words. In the language there are functions, variables, comments, input for numerical data and text data, conditional statements, while, for and switch loops, constants, the implementation of technical objects and all the elements that are found in any other language.
However, unlike other languages, Inform can be used only to write this “genre” that belongs to the history of electronic literature. For those who already know the language and for those who just want to produce text adventures works they will maybe find it convenient to study the language, but why not learn python (for example) which may also have other uses and is simpler, and it is free as well?
The use of mobile messaging, with replacements and abbreviations to facilitate the formulation and the communication of sentences, the use of the enlarged display of smartphones and the iPhone, has allowed Japanese writers to create novels on the mobile display. All this makes important changes in meaning in the use of space of the written language: for example using the white space to indicate silence.
Finally, the ebook and above all the iPad, show new relationships between author and participative audience. All this must have somehow influencedboth the written and the spoken word, transforming video into a new way of communication with its own syntax and grammar, assuming in the end the structural configuration of a proper audio-visual language such as spoken and written languages. The internet has allowed the publication of these products in a widespread, distinct and independent way. From among many networks YouTube appears to be the third most visited site in the world, because anyone can publish on YouTube’s servers. This has encouraged the use of video which nowadays, thanks to personal computers, can also be edited in a simple and economical way and in fact this has become a widespread practice. In this way video which used to be in a relationship of one to few or as with television one to many, is nowadays, thanks to the advent of the internet and of video compression, in a relationship of many to many. Thus we need to consider video techniques (also those concerning the creation of web-pages) as new languages that create new literatures. The democratization of media of expression puts forward a new way to perceive them within human relationships and overturns the laws that have governed our communication systems. Let us think about the advent of television, as Simonetta Fadda said a few years ago:
“Al di là dell'inarrestabile progresso tecnologico dell'elettronica, allo stato attuale sono in circolazione sul mercato soltanto apparecchi abilitati alla ricezione dei segnali, il che elimina all'origine la possibilità di trasmettere in proprio e autonomamente messaggi televisivi. Tuttavia, questa non è un'impossibilità tecnologica, è una precisa scelta politica ed economica. Poche valvole in più, quelle necessarie a trasmettitore e telecamera incorporata, e il televisore si trasformerebbe davvero in un dispositivo di comunicazione di massa” .
New languages are born that appear to be heretic when we want to present them as able to create new literatures. But how many heresies were just predictions of future events? It is in this line that we see emerging a kind of art born from an imaginative heretic language: electronic literature.
Hybridism and New Heretic Languages
We live in an age of transition. We move from analog to digital, opening up on an era of the post-electronic. Languages change the written word with that effect realized by static and moving images. The alphabets are extended, languages mingle among themselves and with their dialects, creating a new concept of culture: multi-culture.
The contemporary cultural processes challenge not only the idea that tradition is the only value in literature, but also the idea that only the purity of the national languages can create literature. According to this idea dialects (that are strictly connected to the author’s culture and background) and the communicative products made of (apparently) “not human” languages cannot participate in the creation of literature.
I am referring to all those languages that today, thanks to the inventions of science, are sometimes used even every day: publishing, photography and cinematography, television, video. Not to mention theater and its profound changes through the contamination of languages. Until we reach contemporary results thanks to the web.
Nowadays communication puts forward a mix of languages that are suddenly available to everyone, and because of that they have started to be the real actual language of the planet Earth.
We can therefore talk of new literatures in the same way as we talk of spoken and written languages that give rise to practices not only related to communication, but also to the creation of new art forms.
But art can only have the form of our thoughts and our feelings, exercising the imagination within the experiences of the contemporary world. Nowadays art cannot be detached from philosophy and science, it is more and more another tool for comprehending reality. Thus a hybrid thought takes in charge a way of acting and producing that puts culture on new paths and new frontiers.
Hybrid literature uses different languages from different traditions mixing them with other contemporary languages. The Italian, French, English, Spanish languages and their traditional literatures seem to become dead languages. This is especially true among the young, more used to the introduction of new forms that have electronic, post-electronic and digital origins.
The spoken languages are becoming for this generation as Latin and Greek were for our generation. Dead languages. People’s migrations are happening at the intersection of cultures and languages, which intersect themselves with national, regional, and local language producing hybrid languages that create new cultures, new ways of thinking and new ways of relating to the surrounding world. In this transformation, traditional cultures, rather than be completely supplanted, are wedging into the new language, producing further mutations. The concept of hybridism becomes commonly used in multi-ethnic, multicultural, multi-religious societies.
“Le arti figurative e la letteratura, la linguistica e l’antropologia, la sociologia e la religione, come pure le scienze naturali, denunciano la presenza emergente e l’influenza sempre maggiore dell’ibridismo nel discorso culturale del nostro tempo. Il fenomeno, in quanto tale è tutt’altro che nuovo, poiché l’ibridazione è un processo comune a tutte le culture umane, anche se è stato inizialmente osservato nel contesto della vita organica, animale e vegetale. Il termine indica una deviazione dalla norma della genealogia, una mescolanza, un incrocio, e quindi il risultato di un processo di ibridazione: insomma, una combinazione di elementi appartenenti a sistemi diversi, che, estrapolati dal contesto e mescolati, hanno generato un organismo o un prodotto, nuovi e “creolizzati”. Dalla biologia alla genetica il termine è stato esteso […] al linguaggio. Oggi esso copre un’ampia gamma di combinazioni che sono frutto dell’immaginazione umana” .
This happens also to languages used by the young generation in "mobile messaging", it happens in the extending production of the image-signal through the network, from YouTube to the social networks like Facebook or MySpace. They become specific mediums of communication and therefore they create new grammars and new syntaxes for new languages. This continues to happen as it has done for a long time, with commercial signs, where the hybridization between written word and image is strongly communicating. It happens with TV commercials (which although they regrettably invite upon us a consumer society, they are in many cases the best thing on TV) where the written word this time is combined with the spoken word, hybridizing with static and moving images, with sounds and music, demonstrating the existence of the hybridism in electronic products even before the digital ones. Web-pages are themselves forms of hybridization between words and static and moving images: that are in all these cases “frammenti di realtà in presa diretta, vis-à-vis, in modalità tale e quale, ovvero secondo il principio dell’analogon” .
The phase we are living within our cultural ambit, moving towards total globalization in every corner of the planet, shows aspects that appear to be culturally and aesthetically attractive and among them hybridism shows up .
There are several examples of hybridization, often due to the ongoing deterriotorialization. Itala Vivan, professor of postcolonial cultural studies at the University of Milan, quotes the beginning of “The Buddha of Suburbia” to show a clear example of immigration and hybridization. Hainif Kureish says:“Mi chiamo Karin Amir, sono inglese di nascita e d’educazione, o quasi. Vengo spesso considerato uno strano tipo d’inglese, una nuova razza, sorta da due storie antiche. Non me ne curo, inglese sono (pur non andandone fiero), della periferia di Londra sud, da qualche parte diretto. E', forse, la bizzarra mescolanza di continenti e di sangue, qui e lì, di appartenenza e non appartenenza a rendermi irrequieto e facile alla noia. O è, forse, l'essere cresciuto in periferia, la causa. Ad ogni modo perché ricercarne l'intima ragione quando basta dire che ero a caccia di guai, di qualunque sorta di movimento, azione od interesse sessuale fossi in grado di trovare, poiché era tutto così triste, così lento e pesante, a casa nostra, non so perché. Francamente tutto mi deprimeva ed ero pronto a qualunque cosa”. There is a close correlation between migration and hybridization of the bodies, customs, cultures, ways of experiencing the world and the relationships between people in a given territory. “[…] La letteratura dei migranti è giunta nello spazio ibrido. L’esistenza dei migranti viene innalzata in senso esistenziale ad una metafora dell’esistenza dell’individuo, inserito nelle condizioni di un mondo postmoderno. La migrazione come esperienza reale viene trasformata in senso metaforico e interpretata nell’accezione di “situazione esistenziale della peregrinazione, del passaggio, dell’ibridità […] cioè in quanto universalità del mondo globalizzato” .
All these aspects concern literature as a product of communication relationships between people and between people and the local and global reality. Concepts such as globalization, deterritorialization, migration,invoke language problems, create situations in which there is a proliferation of “hybrid” literature. “Hybrid” literature consists of languages that are mixed up creating like this words made of more languages in order to indicate things understandable by people from different origins.
In this journey through a possible definition of hybrid literature in contemporary culture, we also need to consider typography that has produced examples of aesthetization such as visual poetry. Visual poetry can be considered as a hybridization between traditional literary text and the imaginative use of printing techniques.
We also need to quote the case of the hybrid library. This term is nowadays commonly used by professional literature to indicate a structure in which new digital information resources and traditional printed resources coexist in order to provide an integrated information service. “Scopo della biblioteca ibrida è quello di incoraggiare l’utente a servirsi della miglior fonte di informazione disponibile, indipendentemente dal suo formato: un modello di biblioteca dunque dove la logica destinata a prevalere è quella della molteplicità e pluralità delle fonti e dei supporti in una strategia che porta ad affermare la centralità dell’utente e delle sue esigenze” .
It is in this ambit that I believe hybrid literature will be find its place in the in contemporary world, alongside products that are still traditional books but which will bring the reader outside and inside the internet through complex paths that the reader himself will choose on a tapestry of rhizomatic possibilities.
A final thought on the "graphic novel" recreated on the Web. Here again, computer graphics and written language become hybrid literature: the web-comic . The migration of comics from the printed edition to the web opens up new possibilities for it. For instance, a possible hybridization with video, making a product that transforms the written word to the spoken word, to the comic drawing, to the novel, to the video.
The artists included in the archive have been selected by considering the use of new technologies in their work. The research/selection has been done from the '60s to nowadays. Artists that have not used technology or that have used it sporadically have not been included in the archive. However, artists such as Eugenio Miccini, Mirella Bentivoglio, Lamberto Pignotti, Nanni Balestrini, Adriano Spatola, Arrigo LoraTotino, Tomaso Binga have been mentioned. These artists have used different media as part of their poetical research. Their production can be considered as the first phase of an important transformation that the advent of new technologies has opened up through new linguistic paths to literature and particularly to poetry.
We also have mentioned some experiences made in university laboratories such as "Integrated Media" directed by prof. Franz Iandolo, Accademia di Napoli, and the project “Vuotociclo" directed by prof. Agata Chiusano in the Laboratory of the University Suor Orsola Benincasa with students in Scienze dello Spettacolo e della Produzione Multimediale, that besides the forms borrowed from video artists like Nam June Paik and Wolf Vostell, show the need of collaboration in order to create works that requires different informatics knowledge.
We excluded all video-artists whose installations due to the spaces and materials used appear to be strictly linked to the iconography of painting and sculpture that concern the first half of the second part of nineteenth century.
Many of them only rarely and occasionally worked on the linguistic quality of the medium; they were interested instead in extending the linguistic systems – old and already amply studied – to the use of video. To this regard Mario Costa’s idea is illuminating:
“Negli anni ottanta un certo tipo di videoarte comincia a essere esposta, come videoscultura o videoinstallazione, nelle sale di pochi musei. In questi lavori va considerato essenzialmente lo sforzo che gli artisti vanno compiendo per essere accolti nel sistema dell'arte: esso si apre a patto che tutto il nuovo sia forzosamente ricondotto ai vecchi parametri estetologici e al vecchio modo di circolazione delle merci culturali. Videoarte in senso proprio è soltanto, a mio avviso, quella che considera unicamente il nastro, e le immagini elettroniche che esso può produrre, come supporto e materiale di lavoro.
È soltanto qui che meglio si manifestano le implicazioni del nuovo e che maturano quei nuovi e diversi statuti teorici che nella fotografia e nel cinema erano in gestazione.”
I preferred those artistic experiences that opened new research paths to the theater, conceived as a place where many different artistic expressions converge and as the first point of the transformation process of the communication media.
Despite that surely the archive will miss some names, but considering the enormous breadth of the subject, we think we have proposed all those whose work is not closely linked to the imposition of today's art market.
1 I use the term “Video” in a very general way, as a support of electronic content, and between them we should
consider those that refer to personal computers, video games, software, e-books and web-pages, and so on…
2 The execution speed of computers and the ability to enclose in a limited space what before occupied large spaces
affect human being’s perception of time and space, altering the interpersonal relationships.
3 See:: Gino Roncaglia, “ La quarta rivoluzione”, Editori Laterza, Bari 2010.
4 See www.elettroletteratura.org/LI.htm
5 Angela Madesani, “Le icone fluttuanti”, Bruno Mondadori, Milano 2002 – pagg.59 – 60.
6 Beyond the differences between underground movie and d’essai movie and video which art
historians such as Angela Madesani, Vittorio Fagone talk about.
7 Eizenstein defines the sequence as “framing taken from different points of view”
8 To link together that is to say to put the framing one after another, forming a chain of framing, as later in this
introduction, I recall Louis Hjelmslev's linguistic theory that examines the language, beginning with a description that
identifies the existence of a chains of signs.
9 “Sergei M. Eizenstein, Teoria generale del montaggio” ed. Pietro Montani, Marsilio Venezia 2004. pag. XIV Introduction
by Francesco Casetti.
10 Giving literature an extended meaning of a language product; in this case a language constituted of static and moving
images. But also the meaning that derives from the Latin words "alphabet" or "grammar" (Devoto-Oli).
11 From which the title of the paragraph.
12 P.P. Pasolini: Empirismo eretico, Garzanti, Milano 2000.
17 De imaginum composizione,II, 3, p. 98: “Signum est quondammodo genus ad omnia quae
significant, sive ut idea sive ut vestigium sive ut umbra sive aliter.” Da “Giordano Bruno,
Corpus iconographicum, le incisioni nelle opere a stampa” a cura di Mino Gabriele. Adelphi,
Milano 2001. "The task of the indication, sign, seal is not just to represent and signify, but to
show, as the index finger does not means or connotes in itself the thing it is indicating, but it
calls to guess it or look at it"
18 “Giordano Bruno, Corpus iconographicum, le incisioni nelle opere a stampa” ed. Mino
Gabriele. Adelphi, Milano 2001.
20 Louis Hjelmslev, Il linguaggio, Einaudi, Torino 1970. Emphasis added.
22 Emphasis added.
25 Paolo Granata, “Arte, Estetica e Nuovi Media – sei lezioni sul mondo digitale”Fausto Lupetti
Editore, Bologna 2009.
26 Simonetta Fadda, “Definizione zero – Origini della videoarte fra politica e comunicazione”,
costa & nolan, Milano 2005, pag. 49-50.
27 Inform is a programming language used to write “Text Adventures”
28 Simonetta Fadda, “Definizione zero – Origine della videoarte fra politica e comunicazione”,
costa&nolan, Milano 2005.
29 Itala Vivan, “Ibridismi postcoloniali e valenze estetiche” in http://www.el-
ghibli.provincia.bologna.it/id_1-issue_00_02-section_6-index_pos_2.html30 Paolo Granata, “Arte, estetica e nuovi
media”, Fausto Lupetti Editore, Bologna 2009
30 Paolo Granata, “Arte, estetica e nuovi media”, Fausto Lupetti Editore, Bologna 2009
31 Paolo Granata, ibid. pag 140.
32 Itala Vivan, ibid.
33 Michael Hofmann (nato nel 1957, Freiburg , Germania Ovest ) is a German poet that writes in
English and translates from German. è un poeta nato in tedesco che scrive in inglese e un
traduttore di testi dal tedesco.
34 See: Roberto Calasso L'editoria come genere letterario.Articolo comparso su Adelphiana,
pubblicazione permanente, Adelphi edizioni (Milano, 2002).
35 Ornella Foglieni, conference acts: “La Biblioteca ibrida”,Milan, March 2002
36 See Wikipedia.
37 I am thinking about sound poetry which is an artistic expression form, founded around the
fifties of the last century as a result of the researches conducted on poetry and literature in Italy
by the Futurist, with "words in freedom" by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the “noisyplastic” by
Giacomo Balla, the “poesia pentagrammata” by Francesco Cangiullo, the “verbalizzazione
astratta” and the “onomalingua” by Fortunato Depero.
Also present in Dadaism(Hugo Ball, Raoul Hausmann and Kurt Schwitters) and in the Russian
Futurism with Velemir Khlebnikov, Vladimir Mayakovsky and Alexei Krucenych, all artists
that included in their texts unusual sonority made through lexical and syntattic subversion that
had phonetic abstract articulation forms, that they themselves defined as harmonic crooked and
transmental vibration This research led to the creation of a poetic language mainly based on the
sound of words.
Sound poetry therefore, starting from voice’s sonorous quality is placed by Dick Higgins
already in 1961 between the expressive forms in which various disciplines intersect in a unique
structure, an embryonic form of multimedia.
The use of electro-acoustic and electronic technologies , then, constituted an essential
instrumental support joined to intersections and contaminations of different languages, from
performance to haptic and multisensorial perception, and gave giving rise to the present results,
strictly included in the definition of electronic literature.
38 Mario Costa, Il sublime tecnologico. Piccolo trattato di estetica della tecnologia,Castelvecchi, Roma 1998.