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“Ceci n’est pas un nike” (This is not a Nike) (2002) is a web interactive project created by Brazilian multimedia artist Giselle Beiguelman. The project proposes a pun inspired by the enigmatic phrase “Ceci n’est pas un pipe” (This is not a pipe) inscribed in the painting, “La trahison des images” (The Treachery of Images) created by the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte in 1929. This Magritte painting is notorius to cause the viewer a weird dissociation, because it proposes a breakdown of meaning between text and image despite the obvious relationship between them.
“Ceci n’est pas un nike” allows the interactor two basic interaction forms: visual and textual. Through visual interaction is possible distort, in many ways, the image of a tennis shoe. The distortion effects is implemented through a Java application developed by Alex Rosen and renamed e-nike generator by Giselle Bielguelman. The interactor can save the result in a gallery of samples After making his intervention at the picture, and exhibit his work alongside interventions of digital poets as Komninos Zervos and Jim Andrews. The second interaction form is a textual experience that allows the interactor to edit new text on the original text of the author, adding their reflections the project.
One of the most eloquent expressive forms of poetry in digital media is inscribed in territory between the image and the written word. For centuries, the text was directly linked to speech and image associated with the representation, though poets like Mallarme and Apollinaire and other artists such as Magritte and following Cy Twonbly and Jean-Michel Basquiat challenge these limits.
Giselle Beiguelman invites the interactor to reflect about the word / image classical dichotomy through an ironic and provocative approach. In digital media, languages interacts one with each other. Texts transformed into images and vice versa. Words move from side to side of the screen. Objectivity becomes ambiguity. Poems are language distortions and new contexts created by semantic and syntactic provocations. By providing means to manipulate, distort and break the image of this capitalist icon Beiguelman offers to his interactor, the possibility to create new contexts from the forge of visual discourses.
Undoubtedly, Giselle Beiguelman’s “Ceci n’est pas un Nike” reveals to the interactor a new way to see and read the digital poem.