On Poemedia 2.0

September 25, 2014

Early thoughts on Poemedia 2.0:

 

Poemedia 2.0 will be a continuation and development of a project Erin Costello and I installed in the Black Box in 2010. In its initial iteration, Poemedia was a digital poetry on paper installation and live performance that was composed of 300 poems printed on the front and back of 150 sheets of paper, all hung in the center of the space at varying heights, and serving as the projection surface for video that was being manipulated with VJ software. The video worked in concert with (or in opposition to) a soundscape composed of a collage of spoken text, music, nature sounds, etc., all being mixed live in response to audience reaction, the video, and the artists’ whims. By engaging with the printed poem in that media saturated environment, Poemedia called into question the definitions of digital poetry and the screen. It asked, “What is the role of printed poetry in an age in which we are existing in a constant barrage of digital information?”

 

Poemedia 2.0 will continue to explore these themes, but with several added layers of complexity. The installation/performance will include not only printed poetry, but also projected, kinetic poetry. There will be printed poems that will act as screen, but there will also be other surfaces (mylar, mesh screen) upon which text and imagery, both abstract and referential, will be projected. Also, in addition to the artists’ live-mixing of audio and video, this version of Poemedia will include sensing apparatuses that allow the audience to trigger audio and video events themselves. In other words, the audience will be more active in the production of this work.

There will also be a performance space, a space in which the viewer can read another's poem into a microphone as if it is his or her own. Their voice will then be digitally manipulated until it is altered, morphed into something that exists in a space beyond both the poet and the speaker.

 

Poemedia 2.0 will also serve as the practice-based artifact for my dissertation, a study of the resistant potential of digital literature. The three forms of resistant activity explored in the dissertation are ephemerality, live performance/installation, and remix, and each of these will be incorporated into Poemedia 2.0. This means that this work will be more intentional in its political engagement – not only in its content, but in the overall structure of the piece. Erin and I will ask if Poemedia 2.0 can, as a work of art, reveal the nature of power that is otherwise hidden within networked media, and if a work of art in a public space can create a sense of united community.

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