The INTRE:FACE Digital Conference (06.02.2016-07.02.2016), organized by Katharina Deloglu and Tom Bresemann, hosted by Andreas Bülhoff, tackled many important questions regarding digital literature. In a series of articles we bring you the speeches and discussions held at the INTRE:FACE Digital Conference, dealing with problems regarding digital literature and different tools used to construct it, for example how can digital tools be used to offer new approaches to production, what digital tools already exist and how are they structured, to more applied problems, such as how can literary activists use digital means to connect with one another, how we can make most of digital material and many other interesting topics.
Jazra Khaleed was presenting his project Poetry is just words in wrong order. Khaleed is a poet, translator and editor of the literary magazine Teflon. In 2014 he was awarded the SOUNDOUT! Festival’s prize for the project Poetry is just words in the wrong order, created by himself, Timos Alexandropoulos and Antonios Kalagkatsis.
There seems to be an important role played by the body in your performance; on the one hand, there is the algorithmic part – the creation of the text – and then the embodiment. How important is the body and the performance for the project?
Jazra Khaleed: The body is important as the computer creates the text, and the body does the improvisation – it’s the ‘main corrupter’.
The text generation draws from Twitter feeds, and therefore there is a direct connection to current events. The connection to the outside world seems to be mainly through machines. To make this into art, however, is that the human’s job?
Jazra Khaleed: The performance is composed of two parts. Firstly, we have screen and text and then we have the performer, who gives meaning to the texts and connects this to his reality.
Having performed this poem in this format many times, each occurrence being different from the last, how do you archive the texts? Is it important for you to keep them?
Jazra Khaleed: It depends on the venue. Sometimes the poem is printed and the audience likes to take parts of it home. Or the text is being posted online during the performance.
Which is more important: the text or the performance?
Jazra Khaleed: The text is always different – it is an ephemeral type of text. The performer draws on and redefines the text.
Is it the live editing of the text produced by the code which makes the code into an artwork? Or is there art to be seen already in the code itself?
Jazra Khaleed: The performance is indeed needed to turn the text into something that tackles and gets to grips with real human problems, such as xenophobia. Without the human interpretation, the pertinence for real, human topics would be lost.
How many words did you use?
Jazra Khaleed: Material is drawn directly from Twitter and from poems by Arab women – it changed with each performance.
Could this be considered as digital theatre?
Jazra Khaleed: It could be, but I would still say that it’s more a performance. It incorporates movement, as well as sound and text.