Literature as a European mother tongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors who will be travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them questions about text production, reception and mediation. In case you were wondering what a literary activist from Bergen looks like, meet Álvaro Seiça!
Who are you as a poet/writer/author/artist?
I’m Álvaro Seiça.
What kind of literary tradition, authors or concepts have you found inspirational for your work?
In principle, all artistic, literary, political and social traditions I am acquainted with, which have consciously or unconsciously marked me, inform my work. When I say artistic, I refer to areas that can range from literature to dance, music, visual arts, architecture, digital arts. All references I could provide here have the double effect, positive and negative, of framing my work. So, I would say experimental writing, from Hatherly to Perec, informs my work. Authors who transgress conventional artistic and political borders interest me, even if they consider themselves experimental or not.
Please name several contemporary authors who you think are most significant – in any possible sense – and why?
Nathalie Quintane, for her work with language and for maintaining that so necessary direct, though transgressive, political act; John Cayley, for his reflection on language, surveillance, writing and reading modes; Ian Hatcher, for questioning experimental and political values that bridge language, code, and sound. More soon.
What do you think about the current state of the relationship between the author and the reader? Is there a mentionable shift in that relationship through New media in terms of being alienated on the one hand or being enlivened on the other hand?
The current state is, as always, promising. Authors and readers can engage in radical or not so radical ways in reading-writing performative acts. Technology can play a role in redefining the shapes this relation can assume, but it is does not define it per se as a good thing. If we think of works that demand participation from the reader, interaction or text-sound-image input, a possible enlivened moment can happen. However, that can also happen in a non-technologic performative setting. Alienation is subtle, so let it not dominate us.
There always have been interactions and disputes between the discourses of poetry and politics. Do you see possibilities of emancipatory strategies concerning contemporary interactions between poetic and political discourses and agendas? How can/should/do these literary strategies look like?
They can look like this question: Can we write engaged poetry without being bitterly obvious?