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Technology Interviews

From the letter to electronic lettrism.

Derrick de Kerckhove ASCII

From the letter to electronic lettrism.The reincarnation of the word and the implosion of the Muses. Interview to Derrick de Kerckhove by Emanuela Patti. Wicklow, July 23rd, 2010

EP: After its original form of orality, for many centuries now literature has mainly developed as a creative form of expression of the Gutenberg Galaxy In the technological shift from writing to digital language, from text to hypertext though, the word seems to undergo a new transformation In some of your lectures, you used the concept of ‘electronic lettrism’ to describe this evolution Could you explain what you mean by that?

DdeK: In 1947 Isidore Isou, a Parisian artist, published the manifest of lettrism. In fact, lettrism further develops what Arthur Rimbaud had started with Voyelles, meant to give colour to the letter, and rethink the letter as something sensorial. This offers an artistic dimension to the problem; it is a form of calligraphy, which originates, in my opinion, from the impact of the new technologies of reproduction and diffusion of publicity images on erstwhile bare Paris walls, but it’s also a return of the senses into writing: Apollinaire’s Calligrammes, for example, turn the lines of writing into images.

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