8 plays for Salette Tavares (2010)

8 plays for Salette Tavares (8 brincadeiras para Salette Tavares) is a set of eight texts and an experiment in creative research in the area of cyberliterature. A polyphony of varied elements and variables, the combinatorial and generative procedures at the center of these texts are subject to a non-linear staging and in dialogue with the poetry and textual innovation of Portuguese author Salette Tavares.

The average duration for reading this collection of eight texts is about eight minutes. Every 55 seconds, the page with the combinatorial or animated texts automatically redirects to a new work. Included in this work are six combinatorial texts programmed by Rui Torres using the software for literary creation Poemário (Torres and Ferreira), as well as two animated texts inspired by Salette Tavares’ visual poetry and developed by Rodrigo Melo, supervised by Pedro Reis.

The texts are programmed in automatic animation: the poem animates the words in an automatic and random mode, that is, without reader interaction. The lexicon that animates these categories was selected from the work Lex Icon by Salette Tavares.

8 plays for Salette Tavares (8 brincadeiras para Salette Tavares) is a hypermedia project and sequence of eight combinatorial and generative poems created by Rui Torres and Rodrigo Melo. They are inspired by the poetry of the Mozambican-Portuguese author Salette Tavares and based on both her and the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa’s lexical corpora.

The work transforms the reading of poetry into a game-like experience: the reader has the possibility to interact with each of the eight poems, but only for a limited amount of time. After 55 seconds the page automatically loads the next poem. There are two complementary ways of interaction where the reader can either explore what it means to ‘write’ or to ‘read’ hypertext poetry.

Such, the reader may slip into the role of the author by altering (actively and in real time) the paradigms that feed the original syntax of the aleatory algorithm that presents six poems by Salette Tavares “Dentro da casa está o dentro. A porta” I and II, “Como a palavra o diz, o copo”, “A boca e o copo entendem-se através da mão”, “Os talheres são ferramentas delicadas” and “Espelho mudo”. Every change to a poem is saved in the generative blog Poemário.

The collection also includes two other texts that challenge the definition of a poem and the role of the reader of lyrical texts. Inspired by Tavares’ visual poetry, “Alfinetes” by Rui Torres and “Os efes” by Rodrigo Melo and Pedro Reis are two pieces of hypertext poetry that turn the linear reading of a poem into a three-dimensional experience. Both are animated clouds of words which the reader has to navigate and were originally created for the project PO.EC CD-ROM.

8 brincadeiras para Salete Tavares is a textual engine animated with flash Panorama Player and Actionscript 3.0. It was created for the “Poetry Day” on 21st March 2010 at Centro Cultural de Belem in Lisbon.

Review: Fernanda Bonacho, Daniele Giampà, Ulrike Küchler