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.
The project was created for school students and other readers. The idea behind it was that reading should be a creative process. To promote this, the project was divided in two phases. In the first phase, the ‘Blog-phase’ around 120 Berlin high school students as well as actors, translators and bloggers responded to texts of different authors via our project blog. The participants submitted their responses in various formats: as comments, paintings, films and songs, and then also commented on these. By commenting on the text, the students became writers. In the second, the ‘live-phase’ four sessions were held in the Lettrétage in which the authors and the students got to meet in person. They were rewriting; illustrating… and then all the work culminated in a Multimedia mise en scene of the project in the evening.
The main aim of the project was to bring people and subjects together from different spheres – to bring pedagogical and aesthetic approaches to literature together.
What was the biggest difficulty faced by ¿Comment! in terms of digital media/ means to do the project?
Katharina Deloglu: The teachers were sometimes reluctant to embrace the digital media. The students themselves were very enthusiastic. One or two authors were not very responsive to the students’ comments, but on the whole the authors were open-minded: they commented back and engaged with the students. 4 curators chose the writers who they could imagine to be both part of the curriculum but could also challenge the students. On the one hand, we wanted the literature to be of a high quality, on the other it still has to be accessible for school ages pupils.
Literary institutions and groups have an important role to play in helping students to understand that tackling tougher, not so easily accessible artistic themes and questions can often be the most rewarding experience.