Individual Work

A pair of works originally envisioned by Escaja as part of a digital poetic triptych, “Desprendiendo” (2000) and “Sumergida” (2002) employ a distinctive style of kinetic poetry to explore the connection between body, language, and technology, obscurely evoking the feeling of anticipation and disquiet surrounding the changes that accompanied the passage into the new millennium. One of the first and most renowned works of kinetic poetry written in the Spanish language, on one hand, the two poems of VeloCity are unmistakably in dialogue with the twentieth-century avant garde in Hispanic and Latin American poetry traditions: in particular, the graphic experiments of the Brazilian concrete poets, the anti-mimetic and transgressive aesthetics of creacionismo as theorized by Vicente Huidóboro, and the playful linguistic gesticulations found in Ana María Uribe’s gif poetry. On the other hand, with its computer-animated verses and use of hypertext to navigate between the multiple sections of each poem, the work likewise demonstrates the influence of first-generation electronic literature.

Working from these literary antecedents, Escaja combines form, content, and medium to fashion a Baroque aesthetic in both poems, entangling the reader/user in their unstable, repetitious conceptual meditations. In the earlier work, “Desprendiendo”, the recherché description of the relations between language, art, and the body is made even more abstruse as a conventional syntax is distorted through the use of rhetorical devices such as hyperbaton and anaphora, as well as through the movement of the words, which undulate, scatter, or continuously disappear and reappear across the three pages of the work. Maintaining this first poem’s general aesthetic, “Sumergida” evinces a clear evolution in terms of digital design with animations that make the words of the poem appear simultaneously or transform abruptly, making the reading of the work less linear while calling attention to the particular affordances of the computer screen as reading interface. This use of animation, together with the author’s use of wordplay and a variety of antiquated and recondite terms, helps construct the poem’s uncertain, labyrinthine description of a journey. While both “Sumergida” and “Desprendiendo” are thematically ambiguous, foregrounding instead their formal qualities and eliciting affective responses, considered in conjunction, the two poems embody the concept that gives the work its title, obliging the reader/user to reflect on swiftness and transformation during a moment of technological and societal inflection.