Deformance as (Un)Linking: An Exhibition

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The four presenters are members of the Decameron Collective, and have exhibited two digital worlds at ELO (Memory Eternal 2023, Decameron 2.0 2022).

Jolene Armstrong is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and English at Athabasca University, artist, photographer, poet, writer, translator, who explores the interactions and oscillations of art and literature and the potential that immersive environments present as critical storytelling mediums. In addition to other exhibitions, most recently “Spelarne” was exhibited at Tartu 2024 European Culture Capital event Transforming Literary Places.

Monique Tschofen is Associate Professor of English at Toronto Metropolitan University whose scholarly and creative works operate at the intersection of art and philosophy, DH, and electronic literature. Her current scholarly and DH projects read Gertrude Stein through Aristotellian and Cartesian philosophy, and she is creating a digital edition in Scalar.

Kari Maaren is a Lecturer in English at Toronto Metropolitan University. She is interested in medieval literature and monstrosity. She has one published novel and also works with storytelling via music and comics. Her musical improvisation project, in which she uses daily improvisations as a sort of diary, is ongoing.

Siobhan O’Flynn is Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, and Interim Director, Canadian Studies Program, University College, University of Toronto. Current projects explore the expressive and unruly potential of AI image and text generators for elegy, memory, and recursive storytelling, and speculative critical design as a provocation to interrogate the logics of the hetero-patriarchal, petro-capitalist technochauvinism.

Abstract

This exhibition for ELO 2024 accompanies the proposed panel Deformance as (Un)Linking. The four works of deformance will be held in one digital space (platform to be determined).

“An Experiment in Yellow: 'THE YELLOW WALLLPAPER. THE YELLOW WALLPWAPER. The lyelorwwalplater”’ is a digital “deformance” in Twine of Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892), remediating passages of text through multiple cycles of prompts between Midjourney, ChatGPT, and DALL-E. “An Experiment in Yellow” “deforms and performs” the story anew to underscore the collapse of meaning-making into chaos in generative AI’s successive self-cannibalizing remediations. The intention is to amplify the unease rippling through the spiraling destabilization of the protagonist’s consciousness while also asking, what is the literary? How integral is humanity to authorship and how can that be defined? The interactor can decide.

“In There Behind the Door” is a digital deformance of Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons (1914) that makes visible her “topopoetics” (Cresswell). This work, published in Scalar, tests sound-, text-, image-, and video-generating AI–tools where arguably “there is no there there”--to iteratively reveal her poetics as a dense intertextual crossroads where operational pronouns of place mash up Aristotelian, Baconian, and Cartesian topoi together with Matisse’s “Grand Interieur Rouge.”

“Moor and Mead Hall” “deforms” the opening of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf by presenting it as music. Reducing Beowulf from words to music reveals the underlying tension the poet frames as a battle between the justified Danes and the monsters abandoned by God, identifying it as an issue of territory, not morality. By removing the voice of the poet and leaving sound alone, “Moor and Mead Hall” focuses on the story beneath the Christian filter that itself may initially have deformed the oral pre-Christian version of the epic.

“Spelarne”- published in Swedish 1903, is a protomodernist short story by Hjalmar Soderberg. This “deformance” argues through a re-imagination of the story through layers from text to illustration to abstraction and then finally to augmented reality, feeding lines of text to various generative AI and through hand drawn and printed imagery, to create a textual experience that deforms and oscillates to moving picture, revealing the way in which Soderberg was anticipating a modernist manner of writing for cinema.

Documentation:

“An Experiment in Yellow: 'THE YELLOW WALLLPAPER. THE YELLOW WALLPWAPER. The lyelorwwalplater”

In There Behind the Door

“Moor and Mead Hall”

“Spelarne”

 

Deformance as (Un)Linking: An Exhibition

This exhibition for ELO 2024 accompanies the proposed panel Deformance as (Un)Linking. The four works of deformance will be held in one digital space (platform to be determined).

“An Experiment in Yellow: 'THE YELLOW WALLLPAPER. THE YELLOW WALLPWAPER. The lyelorwwalplater”’ is a digital “deformance” in Twine of Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892), remediating passages of text through multiple cycles of prompts between Midjourney, ChatGPT, and DALL-E. “An Experiment in Yellow” “deforms and performs” the story anew to underscore the collapse of meaning-making into chaos in generative AI’s successive self-cannibalizing remediations. The intention is to amplify the unease rippling through the spiraling destabilization of the protagonist’s consciousness while also asking, what is the literary? How integral is humanity to authorship and how can that be defined? The interactor can decide.

“In There Behind the Door” is a digital deformance of Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons (1914) that makes visible her “topopoetics” (Cresswell). This work, published in Scalar, tests sound-, text-, image-, and video-generating AI–tools where arguably “there is no there there”--to iteratively reveal her poetics as a dense intertextual crossroads where operational pronouns of place mash up Aristotelian, Baconian, and Cartesian topoi together with Matisse’s “Grand Interieur Rouge.”

“Moor and Mead Hall” “deforms” the opening of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf by presenting it as music. Reducing Beowulf from words to music reveals the underlying tension the poet frames as a battle between the justified Danes and the monsters abandoned by God, identifying it as an issue of territory, not morality. By removing the voice of the poet and leaving sound alone, “Moor and Mead Hall” focuses on the story beneath the Christian filter that itself may initially have deformed the oral pre-Christian version of the epic.

“Spelarne”- published in Swedish 1903, is a protomodernist short story by Hjalmar Soderberg. This “deformance” argues through a re-imagination of the story through layers from text to illustration to abstraction and then finally to augmented reality, feeding lines of text to various generative AI and through hand drawn and printed imagery, to create a textual experience that deforms and oscillates to moving picture, revealing the way in which Soderberg was anticipating a modernist manner of writing for cinema.

Documentation:

“An Experiment in Yellow: 'THE YELLOW WALLLPAPER. THE YELLOW WALLPWAPER. The lyelorwwalplater”

In There Behind the Door

“Moor and Mead Hall”

“Spelarne”