Glazier, Loss Pequeño. Digital Poetics. The Making of E-Poetries (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, 2002), pp. 138-139.

New Media Poetries

The term “New Media Poetries” refers to poetries that do not employ the medium of the book (or more properly the codex): this includes hologram pieces, works in programmable media, and video or non-print works.
(Due to their relation to procedural poetries, works in programmable media are examined separately here). Eduardo Kac defines “New Media Poetry” in his introduction to the Visible Language issue on New Media Poetry as poetry that “pushes language into dimensions of verbal experience not seen thus far (“Introduction” 99). In addition, Kac explains that “the work of [such poets] takes language beyond the confines of the printed page and explores a new syntax made of linear and non-linear animation, hyperlinks, interactivity, real-time text generation, spatio-temporal discontinuites, self-similarity, synthetic spaces, immateriality, diagrammatic relations, visual tempo, multiple simultaneities, and many other innovative procedures” (“Introduction” 99). Kac’s work provides a good introduction to new media poetry. On his Web site (, I March 1999), he divides his own work into the following categories: “Performances,” “Mixed Media” (works in photography, artist’s books, graffiti, and public installations), “Holopoetry” (the word projected into the fourth dimension), “Telecommunications Events” (work using telephones, videotext, fax, live TV, satellites, slow-can TV, computers, vedeophones, and modems”), “Multimedia” (hypertext, digital video, looped animations, VRML), “Interactive Works” (telepresence, biological, and telematic event-installations), and his projects “The Erratum Series” and “Telepresence Art” (the Ornitorrinco Project).
Kac’s Web site is also an important resource for new media poetry. It provides not only numerous examples of Kac’s holopoems, performances, telecommunications, and visual works but also a wealth of documentary material including interviews and essays, such as “Recent Experiments in Holopoetry and Computer Holopoetry,” “On the Notion of Art as a Visual Dialogue,” “Holopoetry, Hypertext, Hyperpoetry,” and “Telepresence Art.”
Kac’s poetic works push textuality into other realms of experience. A good example of this lies in Kac’s considerable œuvre of holopoems, holo-textual works displayed in three-dimensional space, works that change according to time and the viewer’s position in relation to the text. Kac explains that the holopoem is “a spatio-temporal event: it evokes thought processes and not their result” (“Holopoetry” 186). The holopoem “Adhuc”(shown from six different points of view on Kac’s page), for instance, is “an example of the complex discontinuities that structure the syntax of ... holopoems” (“Holopoetry: Complete”). In it, letters and words seem to drift into the distance, superimposed on each other, eerily suspended in a spherical mist, or atmosphere, the color of which varies from red, green, yellow, and blue, depending on the viewer’s position. Words that are readable include “whenever,” “ever” and “or never,” reaffirming the temporal nature of the piece and the fact that the text is not fixed. About “Adhuc” Kac notes that “all the words refer to time in varying ways, contributing to an overall vagueness that could resist assessment at first sight. The muddled interference patterns that blend with the words help to create an atmosphere of uncertainty, not only concerning the visibility of the words but also about the meanings they produce” (“Recent”). Kac has also noted that “the complex technology of ‘holographic art’ erases its author and its referent; what matters is that it works, not that it points to something outside itself. Its contents seem strangely unmotivated, strangely out of key with the technical sophistication of its mechanisms ...” (“Photonic”), an observation that informs a reading of this piece.
“Astray in Deimos” (there views of which are shown on Kac’s Web page) illustrate other aspects unique to holopoetry: “fluidity of the verbal sign and semantic interpolation, i.e., mutability of the actual topology of words in space leading to changes in meaning” (Kac, “Holopoetry”). The letters in this work appear as hand-scratched representations of three-dimensional block letters, varying in darkness and readability, on a luminous green circle.
(This circle is superimposed on a half-blue, half-red tie-die appearing back-drop.) The letters have a kind of empty solidity (solid because they are three-dimensional but empty because they are transparent), and they seem to refuse to express lexical meaning, though the words “eerie mist” seem to emerge at times. Other works evoke a wide array of qualities. “Havoc” is like a vortex, or galaxy, the text spinning into waves of unreadability as they spiral in brilliant flares of color. “Zero,” by contrast, presents rigid, solid letters, boldly determining a three-dimensional axis, askew against black space. Of “Zero” Kac comments, “words grow or shrink, or turn and break ... to express the drama of an identity crisis in a future world. Rotations, fusions and other actions make the words emphasize their relations and meanings in space. The multiplicity of “Selfs” that would be inexorable with the proliferation of cloning is the ultimate theme of the poem, but for a more attentive reader the answer for the enigma could be found in words residing in other words” (“Recent”). Such works explore completely new textual possibilities and relations, and clearly define new relations between technology and writing.

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