“Retournement” by Philippe Bootz

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“Retournement” by Philippe Bootz

This kinetic poem is documented as a video recording of its performance, which would require emulation to run correctly on contemporary computers, now 20 years removed from its original computational environments. Its aesthetics are fitting with other works produced by the French digital poetry group L.A.I.R.E. (Lecture, Art, Innovation, Recherche, Écriture) in the late 1980s and pre-WWW years. The poem’s simple design and use of graphical elements shouldn’t be confused with simplicity of expression. Au contraire, its minimalist use of animation, changing color, and scheduled textual delivery are used as writing.

The title itself is an indicator of the poem’s strategies, as it takes a phrase, inverts its syntax to form another, transforming its textual and graphic elements more than once to write more lines over time than the sum total of written lines. Keeping this in mind, use the subtitles as a source of translation of its words, but not necessarily as an accurate depiction of what can be read at a given moment.

Featured in ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature.