Re-inhabiting a Synthetic Text World in infloresence.city

Submission Type

Paper

Start Date/Time (EDT)

21-7-2024 2:15 PM

End Date/Time (EDT)

21-7-2024 3:15 PM

Location

Narrative & Worlds

Abstract

This performative talk explores Everest Pipkin and Loren Schmidt’s inflorescence.city to search for ways of inhabiting generative language. Matthew Kirschenbaum warns of a “textpocalypse” in digital language, a collapse of the possibility of communication in the deluge of generative textuality. John Cayley describes the fear of needing to speak synthetic texts’ “text-degraded pseudo-language.” In inflorescence.city, I identify a tactic for preserving semantic and affective attention in sometimes nonsensical generative text and text processing.

Inflorescence.city’s two multimedia volumes, the first resembling a digital book, and the second an atlas and roguelike game, make use of a wide variety of internal and external sources and procedures (not unlike LLMs). The authors declare “we treated these software processes as honored collaborators rather than as tools. Each has its own texture and tendencies.”

What situations incline readers to take up synthetic text as though it were language, because of and not despite their fragmentation and remove from communication? This paper draws on Grinblat, Kreminski, and Manning’s concept of reparative play (after Sedgewick), to show how inflorescence.city's processes of textual worldbuilding, traversal, image translation, and arrangement suggest ways to inhabit synthetic text. Searching for phrases with resonance and a narrative context is invited both in the text and the code, studded with comments that indicate the collaboration’s conversation. The code, as well as the text, invites readers to ask how a symbolic system loosely entangled with human language can be brought back into a (more than) human language. The human body is the nexus through which these interactions are motivated, measured, and felt. In its disappearance and return, in representation and indirect address, the sensitivities of a generalized (not consistently gendered, or raced) body is necessary to animate inflorescence.city’s continent—and, indeed, code. Still, these may be settlers and this may be a ruin.

Bio

Kavi Duvvoori is a PhD student and computational writer at the University of Waterloo, on the Haldimand Tract. This talk is part of a project to identify tactics for defending pluralism, safety, and situatedness in algorithmically-mediated language.

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Jul 21st, 2:15 PM Jul 21st, 3:15 PM

Re-inhabiting a Synthetic Text World in infloresence.city

Narrative & Worlds

This performative talk explores Everest Pipkin and Loren Schmidt’s inflorescence.city to search for ways of inhabiting generative language. Matthew Kirschenbaum warns of a “textpocalypse” in digital language, a collapse of the possibility of communication in the deluge of generative textuality. John Cayley describes the fear of needing to speak synthetic texts’ “text-degraded pseudo-language.” In inflorescence.city, I identify a tactic for preserving semantic and affective attention in sometimes nonsensical generative text and text processing.

Inflorescence.city’s two multimedia volumes, the first resembling a digital book, and the second an atlas and roguelike game, make use of a wide variety of internal and external sources and procedures (not unlike LLMs). The authors declare “we treated these software processes as honored collaborators rather than as tools. Each has its own texture and tendencies.”

What situations incline readers to take up synthetic text as though it were language, because of and not despite their fragmentation and remove from communication? This paper draws on Grinblat, Kreminski, and Manning’s concept of reparative play (after Sedgewick), to show how inflorescence.city's processes of textual worldbuilding, traversal, image translation, and arrangement suggest ways to inhabit synthetic text. Searching for phrases with resonance and a narrative context is invited both in the text and the code, studded with comments that indicate the collaboration’s conversation. The code, as well as the text, invites readers to ask how a symbolic system loosely entangled with human language can be brought back into a (more than) human language. The human body is the nexus through which these interactions are motivated, measured, and felt. In its disappearance and return, in representation and indirect address, the sensitivities of a generalized (not consistently gendered, or raced) body is necessary to animate inflorescence.city’s continent—and, indeed, code. Still, these may be settlers and this may be a ruin.