CRITERIA FOR A VIRTUAL POETRY
by Ladislao Pablo Györi
Cyberspace, digital processing, telepresence, multimedia, Internet, VR, computed animation, AI, robotics, expert systems, nanotechnology, electronic photography, fiber optics, 3D sound, fractal geometry, non-linear dynamics, chaos and complexity, artificial life, fuzzy logic, neural networks, genetic programming, ...
and ... what about poetry?: VIRTUAL POETRY ! !
a basic need to impel a kind of creation related with facts whose emergence -for their morphological and/or structural characteristics- would be improbable in the natural context or necessarily would require a rational and constructing human action, as well as the surpassing of redundant events which keep poetic production in previously absorbed instances and away from an æsthetic function.
Because of the essential conjuntion between human creative work and the utilization of electronic media which have enormously widened the whole field of elaboration, providing very highly valuable tools for the development of ideas, all the creative process would progress into the virtual space offered by the machine. In it, and with the aid of adequate software, the signs can reach multiple proportions by means of the application of functions which go as far as to intrinsically modify its usual properties, to generate even unexpected systems due to its radical configuration and behavior.
The application of computers has facilitated not only the access to a custom-definable logical or virtual space (which ignores the coordinates defined in a gravitational one, having no privileged directions or immovable constraints), to a large series of algorithmic operations, etc., but, fundamentally, has "inaugurated" an essentially different field, for which it is neccessary to produce new languages which will give birth to a new æsthetics. Moreover, in connection with virtual reality, and its extraordinary scope, this proposal would avoid the simple transposition of already barren situations supported by old codes of other non-electronics systems.
The digital world (computerized, therefore synthetic), that deeply differs from any other physical, real or analogical fact, exceeding its limitations and the usual categories of experience, founds its mastery in the mathematic or numeric character of the elements that are contained in it and in the possibility to openly establish correlations between virtual space, objects and subjects, as no previous medium has allowed.
Faced with this state of affairs and starting from the innovations impulsed by the latest constructive vanguards and from a philosophical and epistemological context in accordance with the present advance of the sciences, we must respond to the imperious need to design the brand-new theoretic profiles of this revolutionary technology and the events technically consistent with an n-dimensional virtual space –that is to say, able to be included and treated in that space–.
Thus, VIRTUAL POEMS or VPOEMS are interactive digital entities, capable of: (i) taking part in –or being generated within– a virtual world (here called VPD or "Virtual Poetry Domain") through software or routines (for the development of VR aplications and real time explorations) which confer diverse manner to manipulation, navigation, behavior and alternative properties (in presence of environmental constraints and interactions), evolution, sound emission, animated morphing, etc.; (ii) being "experimented" by means of partially or fully immersive interface devices (vpoems support "walkthroughs" and "flybys"); (iii) assume an æsthetic dimension (in accordance with the semiotic and entropic concept of information), not reducing to a simple phenomenon of communication (like a pure data stream) and (iv) to be defined about a hypertext structure (circulation of open and multiple digital information) but principally producing hyperdiscourses (with a strong semantic non-linearity).
The VPD is a substitutive field –with respect to its quality of "support"– of that traditional printed page which only establishes a "surface and static" contact, very restricted in relation to the requirements of large versatility and global artificiality that also dominate contemporary poetic productions and, especially, those of the future. But it exceeds too, all the more or less established techniques of "canalization" of poetic messages, because it breaks in a definitive way with the first support that produces and maintains them: real physical space. Vpoems and the VPD have a logical existence, so that, they bear no resemblance to anything, becoming entities with an actuational power (related with the quantity of resorts at work) as has never been seen or experimented before.
The opening of the VPD to the informatic network will facilitate the realization of virtual teleportations of "explorer" subjects to "VP-base computers" (at any point of the world or the physical space), obtaining an absolutely new remote experience of simulated run and exploratory "reading", which is still difficult to value today in its most extraordinary dimension and possibilities.
Virtual Poetry, as expounded here, is not reduced to the surpassing of certain linguistic codes, the adding of a topic, some formal conquest, another segmentation of a continuum, the utilization of an unusual support ... however important these aspects may be. VP forces the initiation of a new era in the general poetic creation, freeing the human imagination from any real constraint, giving it a vast and virgin field, in which everything conceivable (as a construct) could exist and the human experience associated with the machine (as a mixed or cybernetic system) will rise up to higher levels than all those already known.
Criteria for a virtual poetry - Ladislao Pablo Györi - Buenos Aires - Argentina, May 1995.