Culture 2000







CULTURE 2000 -Digital Surface
Maria Mencia

For the development of my project based on the digital surface within current fine art practice I will be addressing a visual, oral and textual surface of language and specifically an electronic generative handwriting.

Practice work: Generating Chirography in an Electronic Surface
My intention is to develop a programme to create generative handwriting. This generative electronic handwriting surface will be oral, visual and textual, containing characteristics from the different economies of writing. It will include the more personal aspect of handwriting but will evolve into a collective experience by the participation of the user and the constant metamorphosizing of the words into other new words or like words. Its mutable quality will resemble that of electronic writing, no fixed centre, evanescent, participatory, authorless and generative.

Paper: Generating Chirography in an Electronic Surface
Key Words: Handwriting, Electronic Writing, Generative Writing, Visuality -Textuality- Orality/Aurality, Digital Surface.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the area of writing and new technologies and more specifically the idea of electronically produced handwriting and electronic writing. In this process I will examine the visuality, aurality and generative character of these textualities formed in a digital surface.
Another integral aspect of this interrogation is the personal and more individual characteristics of the handwriting in comparison to the collectiveness of the electronic writing including ways of interweaving both features to produce a collective handwriting experience of self-generated and metamorphosed text. My point of departure to develop this view will be one of my projects, Vocaleyes, which emphatically brings attention to the visuality and aurality/orality of language. It is an interactive piece that enables the user to create writing/drawings and sounds compositions via a digital interface which allows the user to write in the form of handwriting, but which is nevertheless electronically produced. I will develop further the possibilities of this project by introducing a generative handwriting programme. I will also draw on examples of other artists and theoreticians working in this area such as Derrida for instance, who among many others discuses the new economy of reading and writing, illuminating the ‘nature’ of electronic writing in juxtaposition to the various physical manifestations of writing per se. Mark Poster who questions Derrida’s interpretation of ‘writing’ and deconstruction as a critical theory for electronic writing. David J. Bolter in his book Writing Space covers every possible argument about economies of writing: visual, aural, textual, the written surface(s)pace, the new sign, the new reader-writer relationship etc. Richard Lanham’s new rhetoric where literature and art interweave and many others.

These kinds of textualities/surfaces also bring up another questioning aspect in relationship to the non-hierarchical position of speech sounds and writing as understood by Derrida in juxtaposition to Ong’s supremacy of the oral over printed text. As Mark Poster states: ‘Writing as Derrida uses the term is not in opposition to speech but anterior to the distinction between speech and writing. Speech is always already haunted by the non-identity of author and truth always already “writing”….’ Thus, the idea of writing as an individual entity instead of as a representation of speech; the self-referential writing as oppose to referring to something outside itself.



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