Please check the Program for the schedule of performances.
ELO 2023 Performances
On the 12th and the 14th of July 2023, the ELO Conference 2023 “Overcoming Divides: Electronic Literature and Social Change” will migrate for a few hours to a stage. This multimedia festival of performances, which will take place in the Convento São Francisco (room C2A – Mondego room) and in the Teatro Académico Gil Vicente, will gather several artists on stage, emphasizing the close link between electronic literature and performative arts.
Focusing on the same themes suggested by ELO Conference 2023, performers will address social and environmental issues, enveloping the audience in an stimulating and thought-provoking event.
If you also wish to attend the conference, please register at the conference website.
All performances were carefully evaluated and selected by an Artistic Committee. The chairs of ELO Conference 2023 would like to thank this Committee, and all the artists that shared their performances with us. We would also like to thank the Blue House, the present director (Sílvio Santos) and former director of TAGV (Fernando Matos de Oliveira), as well as the TAGV’s team, for technical support.
Organizers: Daniela Côrtes Maduro, Manuel Portela, Alex Saum-Pascual, Rui Torres.
Collaboration: Isabel Campante, João Rui, João Silva (Jorri).
Artists performing at these events: Adam Vidiksis, Aidan Walker, Ana Caballero, Caitlin Fisher, Carolina López, Christian Bök, Daria Petrova (Convento São Francisco), Ismael Faro, J. R. Carpenter, Jacob Hall, Jules Rawlinson, Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Marcos De La Fuente, Mariel Martínez, Mark Marino, Nick Montfort e Ryan Veeder (Convento São Francisco), Ottar Ormstad (Convento São Francisco), Roderick Coover, Sasha Stiles, Terhi Marttila, Yan St-Onge.
12 July 2023, TAGV, 9:30 p.m.
THE FLOODS: A generative and combinatory sound-image-text performance
Roderick Coover (Temple University), Adam Vidiksis (Temple University), Nick Montfort (MIT)
THE FLOODS submerges viewers into a kaleidoscope of climate futures, blending creative nonfiction, computational writing and sound. The code-driven visual experience is filmed by Roderick Coover. It features live musical performance and electronic sound by composer-drummer Adam Vidiksis. The generative text by computational poet Nick Montfort.
Images filmed above and below the water on the Atlantic Coast, the Mediterranean Coast, the North Sea and the English Channel depict human and non-human land transformations, movements, infrastructures, floods and beacons that are transformed through layering, collage, montage and code-based operations. The live music and sound design by Adam Vidiksis accentuates the collision of natural and industrial rhythms and the power of irrational forces, evoking imagined futures through dream-like sequences and by moving between surface and submerged realities and sentience. A generative text attempts to describe conditions that are fundamentally inchoate – loss, longing, extinction. The experience unfolds in ever-changing movements to suggest choices, narratives and meanings. Structural arcs in the code carry viewers across experiences of observation, transformation, longing, loss and possibility. As seemingly familiar places become transfigured, the work suggests that rising waters don’t only change places, they also impact memories, desires, dreams and language. https://itwillhappenhere.net/
Yan St-Onge (Artist/Independent researcher)
Overflow is a performance which aim is to create the feeling of a catastrophic event. The flooding of a river is a metaphor for the world transforming because of the Anthropocene’s climate crisis. During the performance, the language itself is affected, transformed in sound poetry and visual poetry, losing its semantic capabilities gradually. The act of writing and drawing are intertwined.
Using live digital visual poetry and speaking, the whole process shows the vulnerability of a performance, where the possibility of making mistakes is intrinsic to the approach. Unlike traditional literature, writing and drawing in this digital set-up are ephemeral actions, they do not produce artifacts. Digital writing, being done live in a WYSIWYG mode, acquires the same transience as speech.
The reading in French and English evolves into experimental sound poetry. With the projection on the wall, people can see what I do on my iPad: visual poetry appears and disappears, text evolves into scribbles and abstract drawings. The parallel evolution of the visual and sound rhythm reminds us of the waves of the overflowing water and its progressive invasion of the territory. The audience's attention will be drawn alternately to the projection screen and to me speaking into the microphone or writing and drawing on my tablet.
The biodiversity, including humans, is endangered. The climate crisis and the natural disaster evoked in the work represent a call to action to curb the environmental crisis. In fact, the climate crisis is one of the most important social and political issues of our time because the survival of humans and living beings is at stake
Terhi Marttila (Independent artist-researcher)
The woman across from me on the bus had dark, black hair. I was mesmerised. But suddenly I realised that her hair was dyed. Startled, I began to survey the rest of the passengers, and realised that the vast majority of women had dyed their hair. Young women, old women, I thought: why only the women?
Gray hairs is an interactive poem or series of fragments about the gendered practice of dyeing one’s hair. Reading progresses through “plucking” gray hairs on screen, which causes them to turn back to black. For a moment, that is. Ultimately, ageing prevails and leaves us with a blank, white screen.
Through its computational form, the work thus underscores the linear and inevitable nature of the process of greying and of ageing. We can choose to pluck or to dye, or to do neither, but in either case, we will die. Between youth and death, there is a space in which ageing looms and disquiets a woman living the first signs of this slow transition.
In this performance, Terhi Marttila does a live reading of her work Gray hairs. Terhi taps through the poem, pacing the reading out loud of these fragments in front of the live audience.
An Island of Sound
J. R. Carpenter (University of Southampton), Jules Rawlinson (University of Edinburgh)
From the classical period through the early modern, tales abounded of distant islands inhabited by demons, devils, evil spirits, and all manner of winged creatures. The Sirens lured sailors to shipwreck with singing voices. The sprite Ariel conjures up a storm. These are stories we tell ourselves to make sense of wind. How can the affordances of variable text with digital literature and the spatiality of sound combine through live performance to harness the emotive, psychological, and elemental force of these ancient stories to address the current climate crisis? An Island of Sound is a new browser-based work exploring the notion that the phantom islands that appeared on maps of the North Atlantic at the moment of intersection between Imperialism and Little Ice Age are, in part, weather phenomenon. It does this through an assemblage of found images, algorithmically generated texts, live performance, and sound. Sound offers ways to represent, experience and negotiate written, spoken and visual material that may be speculative, fictitious or factual, emotive, informative, and rhetorical. The sound-world created for the proposed live performance of this work responds to, supports, and transforms the visual and textual imagery. The sound-world is informed by the kinetic, emergent and systemic character of wind motion across different scales, speeds, layers and dynamics. Field recordings, wind synthesis, generative sample streams and data-driven sound processing are collaged and combined with spoken word to create ambiguous and shifting sonic narratives and spectral resonances.
- An Island of Sound (browser-based work) https://luckysoap.com/anislandofsound
- An Island of Sound (documentation of a live performance of the work) https://efi.ed.ac.uk/events/an-island-of-sound-j-r-carpenter-with-jules-rawlinson/
14 July 2023, TAGV, 9:30 p.m.
Versifying Engagement in the Metaverse: A Performance of Work by @theVERSEverse
Christian Bök (Independent Scholar), Sasha Stiles (Independent Scholar), Ana María Caballero (University of Miami), Lillian-Yvonne Bertram (Northeastern University)
This performance showcases the multimedia renditions of poetry by members of @theVERSEverse — a collective of poets, founded in 2021 by Sasha Stiles, Ana María Caballero, and Kalen Iwamoto (with a membership that includes poets like Christian Bök and Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, among others). Bök is one of the founders of Conceptualism (the literary movement that explores the ‘limit-cases’ of writing after the advent of the Internet) — and for this event, he is introducing performances by three women, all of whom are going to display the affordances of Web 3.0 for poetry in the wake of Web 2.0. The collective has argued that both artificial intellects and generative algorithms can now play a role in both the democratization of art and the diversification of art (giving, otherwise marginal, if not silenced, poets more social agency in the distribution of their work, ‘overcoming divides’ between cultures). The event serves to complement the panel entitled ‘The Power of Verse in the Metaverse’ — where the poets discuss the implication of these technologies upon poetics.
“The Poet vs The Machine” live performance
Marcos De La Fuente (Poetry+AI=ART), Maria de Los Angeles Martinez Estevez (Poetry+AI=ART), Ismael Faro (Poetry+AI=ART), Alec Ekvall (poem + ai artistic collective)
Overcoming language barriers is a challenging problem for both humans and AI, but using the AI there are several strategies that can help. The AI- Poetry voice chain is an interactive art installation that uses artificial intelligence to generate poetry through voice recognition and response.
One of the approaches to the sculpture is multilingual Poetry, the AI responds to voice inputs in multiple languages, allowing visitors to engage with the installation in their native language. This creates inclusivity and accessibility for people who may not speak the same language as the installation's creator or visitors.
Another approach is Collaborative Poetry, which invites visitors to input their own phrases or words, enabling the AI to generate poetry that bridges language barriers and creates new opportunities for connection and expression.
How does it work? The user is required to whisper a phrase to any of the heads, the head that receives the user's input will generate a phrase, which will be spoken out loud. This spoken phrase will then serve as the input data for the next head, which will subsequently generate its own phrase, repeating the process iteratively will create the poem.
The Living Book of Living Portraits of Mom
Carolina López Jiménez (independiente)
The Living book of Living portraits of mom is a performance art derived from www.retratosvivosdemama.co. The Living book was born thanks to a family story that called on to incarnate in a body and a concrete voice: the daughter-narrator-character who took out of the basement the secret that, in life, suffocated her mother. The Living book has been the daughter's way of repairing the silence that asphyxiated her mother and that almost drowned her too. The daughter has decided to tell this story in the hope that someday in every corner of the world, women will be guaranteed the freedom and autonomy to choose about their bodies and life projects without being judged or besieged.
The performance artwork consisting of oral writing in situ, constructed from testimonies and materials from the family archive. The daughter-narrator-author becomes a Living book (sentient body), thus processing her grief in front of an audience that listens (and feels as well) in order to give room to and shine a light on a misty story that occurred in 1976 in a distant village in Colombia. A story that opens the reflection on the conditions that, even today, many women must go through when they make decisions about their bodies and their life projects. What would we find if we were to dig deep into whom our mothers were before becoming mothers? What things have been hidden or silenced, and what do they reveal about the present or ourselves? Real social change will not be possible if we do not heal the wounds patriarchy has left in our ancestors and ourselves.
An Apartment Building in July
Aidan Walker [online] (Columbia University), Jacob Hall (Independent Researcher)
This hypertext poem describes three people living in one apartment building in July of 2021 in the United States, and the ways in which inanimate objects and processes connect them to each other. While each of the three people believes that they are entirely alone, their stories are actually connected by natural processes, media events, and inanimate objects which also double as the links that stitch the hypertext together.
Caitlin Fisher (York University)
Diamonds is a computationally-generated poem, a fractal piece built with a Markov chain from fragments of the author’s poetry created over the past decade dealing with issues resonant with this year’s conference theme: social issues more broadly, but specifically sexual and gender identity, generational building of community and its loss, desire and difference. The result is both a long-form poem and the reimagining of an archive of lesbian poetry as electronic literature.