"In the Beginning Was the Poem@": Interspecies, Robotics and Random/e-Poetry.

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Author: Tina Escaja
Date: Fall 2019
From: Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics(Vol. 42, Issue 4)
Publisher: Vishvanatha Kaviraja Institute of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics
Document Type: Article
Length: 3,681 words

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This article explores the latest random e-poetry and interspecies created by Alm@ Perez/ Tina Escaja. Alm@ Perez (alter/ed ego of Tina Escaja) emerged at the beginning of the 90s as a personal cybernetic revelation/rebellion captivated by the creative possibilities of the black screen (that's how the background of the first computer screens looked) upon which the white throbbing of the cursor pulsated as a new electronic consciousness. The name Alm@ Perez is inspired by "Augusto Perez," a character aware of his fictitious identity who debates his existence with his "real-life" author, Miguel de Unamuno, in Unamuno's emblematic novel Niebla. Perez rises up to Alm@ -"alma" meaning "soul" in Spanish- by technological and trans-nomadic virtue which invites electronic connections. Under the pseudonym of Alm@ Perez, in the 90s and early 2000s I explored such connections in hypertextual projects I created such as VeloCity (2000, 2002) and in the interactive novel Pinzas de metal (2003); I published the novella Asesinato en el laboratorio de idiomas (1997) and the book of poems Respiracion mecanica (2001), both in e-book format; I reinvented myself as a Cyborg, in need of relocating identities or "alternative figurations," as Rosi Braidotti's states in her exploration of the nomadic subject (11). This ontology evolved into new e-lit projects that questioned binaries and media-assumptions based on electronics, interspecies and random poetry.

1. In the Beginning was the Poem@: Robopoem@s, as Prototypes (2)

Proto is beginning and 'preliminary,' the thing preceding the effect, the typo, which is error, and textile, text. Making protos is making poems in process the preamble to the cyborg awareness of the robopoet. Creating prototypes is uniting the real with the ideal, the irreal with the potential. In word and poetic object, in text and lyric vertigo. The whole and possibility. (3)

With these words I summed up my project of the future Robopoem@s in their "prototype" phase. These Robopoem@s or rather, these future poetic robots were introduced in the collective exhibition called "Works Both Ways" at the Flynndog Gallery in Burlington, Vermont, in the summer of 2015, a show curated by Sharon Webster that showcased works by artists who were also writers. Robopoem@s consisted of two distinctive installations. The first displayed a wood engraving of the original concept/matrix of a robot (from a kit of a spider-like robot), flanked by a seven-section poem entitled "Robopoem@s" (with my original Spanish on the left and Kristin Dykstra's translation into English on the right). These seven independent but interconnected sections/poems explore existential concepts from the perspective of a robot, now a prototype of the future possibilities of their seven corresponding three-dimensional iterations.

The second installation consisted of the engraving in large plexiglass panels of the robotic parts from the same kit used for the matrix. I projected a direct light onto these panels, creating a shadow over poem number VII, the last segment in the series, printed in binary code on paper: "A tu semejanza / mi Imagen" ("According to your likeness / my Image.") These are the key lines...

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Source Citation
Escaja, Tina. "'In the Beginning Was the Poem@': Interspecies, Robotics and Random/e-Poetry." Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics, vol. 42, no. 4, fall 2019, pp. 8+. Accessed 5 July 2022.
  

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