“.txt” by Fernando Nabais, Fernando Galrito, and Stephan Jürgens.

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still image from “.txt”

.txt is a work located between dance, poetry, and digital technology that challenges any attempts at genre classification. Its presence in that directory of articles dedicated to poetry in digital media at first be justified by the presence of the written word, however, the motivation that drives this brief reflection is far from being limited to the presence of the language code. It is an exciting and complex project, built from a fusion of languages ​​through digital technology and whose interaction depends on a body gesture.

This collaborative project between Portuguese researchers and artists Fernando Nabais, Fernando Galrito​​, Stephan Jürgens and a technical team, was conceived as an interdisciplinary process of remediation of the media and its consolidated codes and with the body as the main form of interaction, according ot Nabais. First presented in October 2009 at the Museum of Oriente in Lisbon, the interactive performance “.txt” won the National Multimedia Prize in the Art and Culture category in 2010.

“.txt” can be seen as an interactive performance because it is a choreography carried out by a performer (Pedro Ramos) who shares the stage with the projection of kinectic words. It should be emphasized that the words projected on stage go beyond a scenography. In “.txt” the projected text seems to have its own life and performs a pas de deux with the performer. In performance, the group of words initially pursues, immobilizes and suffocates the dancer, but later, together, both are running intense integrated and harmonious movements.

Due to the intense words movement during the performance it seems impossible to maintain a syntactic verses order. Thus, the rapidly words moving and its approaching each other suggests multiple reading possibilities. The optical reading expands the writing code and the “reading body” acts with the dance inscription in time and space. In “.txt”, reading and writing are physical acts that announce new ways of reception art and poetic objects foreseen by Walter Benjamin in “Attested Auditor of Books,” published in One Way Street and Other Writings:

But is quite beyond doubt that the development of writing will not indefinitely be bound by the claims to power of a chaotic academic and commercial activity; rather, quantity is approaching the moment of a qualitative leap when writing, advancing ever more deeply into the graphic region of its new eccentric figurativeness, will take sudden possession of an adequate factual content. In this picture writing, poets, who will now as in earliest be first and foremost experts in writing, will be able to participate only by mastering the fields in wich (quite unobtrusivisly) it is being constructed: the statistical and technical diagram. With the foundation of an international moving script they will renew their authority in the life of peoples, and find a role awaiting them in comparison to wich all the innovative aspiration of rhetoric will reveal themselves as antiquated day-dreams”.