UC Santa Cruz
Titling, 'Titled, "Untitled"'
- Author(s): Duvvoori, Kavi
- Advisor(s): Sack, Warren
- et al.
'Titled, “Untitled”' presents a compendium of language games by the artist, in conversation with various models of language. This project asks how and where digital literary art can approach human language’s contemporary situations, contextualizing its practice alongside late 20th century movements intervening artistically in language such as Oulipo, Language poetry, fluxus, net.art, and conceptual art. The quirks and failures of linguistic models, appearing in technical literatures before entering the human world through ubiquitous software systems, now act upon and evaluate us daily through systems for translation, sentiment and network surveillance, and the corporate characters for synthetic conversation. 'Titled, “Untitled”'s response pursues a strategy similar to the one Jenny Schlenzka identifies in Adam Pendleton’s 'Black Dada', “first, to study these stabilizing functions of institutional language and then to take the further step of introducing elements of destabilization. What would happen… if a museum were to hand over its entire linguistic output to a group of poets?”
A compositional semantics parses sentences about two rooms while an author interjects other assertions. A recurrent neural network struggles to make sense of contrasting training texts. A vector-space thesaurus degenerates sentence constellations. A physics engine drops 3d words through gamespace. A cellular automaton transforms common consonants and vowels into words and a territory.
The compendium takes the form of a wiki and gallery reading room, where each entry offers a summary of a theoretical framework before presenting a work implementing it, working with its metaphors, or drawing attention to the remainder the theory excludes. Concerns across 'Titled, “Untitled”' include the materialities of digital language; the problem of digital language’s simultaneous algorithmic processors and human audiences; the search for positive semantic or human possibilities in linguistic positions or identities defined as a negative space (such as “queer” or “person of color”); and the social, corporate, and technical infrastructures that mediate digital speech.