Ultra-Poetry is a container to write about multidimensional communities, digital poetry, and music. The project presents a multimedia installation and online archive, distributed into electronic games, writing, and sonic fiction. Through the concept of Quilombismo, raised by Abdias do Nascimento’s philosophy, a digital quilombo will be created, methodologically using the term “featuring” (used in music industry) to present a diverse group of artists and musicians, and to discuss black technopoetics, communities, and trans-afro-futurism. Featuring and Futurism mark a terrain in the project of a speculative community, spiritually co-creating Quantum physics, String Theories and techno-magic to create a procedural and relational connection with A.I. They show just how much chaos is possible to see and interact with in opaque spaces. While we archive our life experiences, perceptions, objects and 3D assets, we also output new architecture, sounds, politics and behaviours.
The research and development of the theoretical approach of the “Ultra-Poetry” project is based on oral knowledge and voicing manifestations of culture and narrative. Thought is the organisation of a musical archive, to which invited artists from Latin America and diasporic backgrounds contribute thoughts and sounds around the collapse of colonialism spectrum, climate crises, indigenous resistance and afro-transfeminism. Engaging technique and production of knowledge, art processes in contact with ceramics, soil, plastic, nature resources, techno trash and the invisible entity A.I. that permeates all nets of dreams, life production, and time-travel, the Ultra-Poetry project establishes the complex dimensions of interrelation, community, and ancestral practices that are at the core of techno-scientific development as well as magical thinking.
The Container and the Vivarium
It starts with the term container, which for the project enters into dialogue with the computational concept of packaging storage of software that contains all the elements necessary to function in any environment. The container functions as a procedural open-work, with storage capacity, mobility, and constant mutability according to the space where it is installed. Being a space-poem-living-hub, it carries multiple unfoldings in what concerns the construction, presentation, and re-presentation of subjective traces that are put under discussion and use. The container is a liquidated architecture, a by-product of contemporary ultra-capitalism and amalgamated after Stuart Hall’s (2000) fragmentation of the postmodern subject. Hall defines the postmodern subject as one who lives in the era in which identities are formed and transformed continuously with influence on the forms that come into contact with the individual from cultural systems. The subject that lives, uses and produces the container is directly the diasporic body that negotiates with the techno-scientific-white-cis-normative reality, the spectrality of the primitive colonial world. From this process that seeks a micro-political vision to propel actions of collective effect and the production of the self as an unfolding of practices for creating new narratives for specific spaces and institutions, making use of the dissident production to develop a possible collective history.
Through collective agency and the use of a specific time for the realisation of several activities, the Ultra-Poetry project places itself as a practice of performing theory in its various segmentations, whether by the action of art or the literality of being present in a certain forbidden or denied space. Crossing the experience of theory and practice in the visual arts, the project serves as an important explanation of contemporary initiatives regarding the use of idle spaces and idle spatiality and new policies of critical densification on removal, gentrification, ultra-capitalism, anxious A.I, blackness, bringing to discussion in the institutional artistic circuit the possibilities of using art as a support for manifestations of ideas and new ways of existing beyond the spatial content, but in the attribution of time and its unfoldings of territorial and architectural impact.
In this case, the establishment of a container assists in the narrative production of these processes, dialoguing with the possibility of creating a catalysing situation for dynamic events in a given space of time. Free of any experience that promotes the illusory isolation extremely promoted by the neoliberal economy, the container is in itself the life of individuals in solitude, but in constant search for companionship and collectivities, for they are able to understand themselves as existential thing-body-matter through the ocular filter of the environment. A whole galaxy is created inside the container, going in the direction of Marx’s Critique of Political Economy, where the Robinsonian individual, who is isolated on a desert island, generates the archetype of the liberal subject, placed in isolation and building a life for himself that does not consider all the subjective and historical material he takes with him to the island. Transferring this same case to the pandemic crisis, the creation of neuro-cybernetic technologies like A.I. and the use of our datasets, ultra-capitalism has simply created us vivariums, where all our daily cosmologies are interpreted and redistributed in a great feedback of feelings, to keep us in cognitive cultivation.
Castells’ text “The Internet Galaxy” proposes three moments for the constitution of democratic space in terms of communication, knowing that the medium is open to broad access, even though inequalities are arranged in the network.
Firstly, the Gutenberg galaxy characterises the typographical man, who has a more analytical and objective format; the Macluhan galaxy, consolidated by television as a mass communication vehicle creates a break with the typographical man. In the Internet galaxy, the differential is in the interactivity and personalisation of communication, even being a mass medium.
The vivarium is in itself posterior to the galaxies of Gutenberg and Mcluhan, due to its procedural capacity; that is, it self-administers and self-generates, creating an anarchic disruption in the inter-relational interactions, bringing about love for the machine, for objects, and materialising dreams in the virtual world. Plants that talk, A.I. friends, and procedural music are some of the new elements of the contemporary ecosystem.
The container is where the vivarium is installed to create life and love the user unconditionally, using artificialisation and gimmicks to keep the user in cultivation. From this space, we can establish a macro and micro political analysis of how private spaces are becoming devotional spaces.
The crucial methodological element for creating Ultra-Poetry is the intersection of quilombolism and the mycelial network practice of fungi. Quilombismo, then, is a community manifestation based on an understanding of quilombos as historical beacons of democracy and equality. By offering an alternative to captivity, quilombos allowed Africans “to recover their liberty and human dignity” by organising their own “viable free societies.”
Regarding the project, with the collaboration of Walla Capelobo, a multidimensional network was developed to performatively activate the installation space through the perception of fungi and mushrooms and how the nature- and organicity-implicit intelligent networks can offer a decentralising perspective around what we understand as intelligence, collectivity and responsibility.
The way the mycelial network develops and grows, as well as communicates with the whole forest, can also serve as an example to think about an astral quilombism, where the form of social organisation of certain groups permeates multidimensional perceptions that take into consideration spiritual, psychic, technological, gender and race aspects. The multidimensionality of astral quilombism is infinite because it is procedural and generatively creates and destroys the cosmos constantly.
Quilombism is the foremost example of the opacity described by Edouard Glissant, who, in his book Poetics of Relation, presents opacity as the antonymy of transparency, leaving the gap of enlightenment knowledge and luminosity in critical dispersion, creating a disruptive approach regarding the epistemological compression of scientific departments, opening the chaos world, where anarchic segmentations of knowledge cross mainstream systems without any standard or super visibility, and live in the operation of chaos. The right to opacity also allows for the self-defence of quilombola communities, which in turn keep secrets and practices surviving the destruction of worlds caused by European colonialism.
The astral quilombo within the context of the container and the vivarium is in itself the practical conceptualisation of how to perform theory in a mycelial context. It functions in terms of grasping how natural organic life forms on the planet serve as landscape, movement and methodology to figure out how human and machine systems can re-establish a multidimensional arrangement of addressing politics, gender, race, class, aesthetics, spatialisation and technopoetics. Systematically, the astral quilombo differs from Abdias do Nascimento’s quilombo in that it traces lines of tangible synchronic existences, such as the internet and cyberspace, creating threads that interweave and tangle in the same way that mycelial nerve fibres grow. Thus, it creates a possible cosmic visualisation of exactly which way life and politics participate in the aesthetic scheme of the techno-magic world. In the context of Ultra-Poetry, it is only necessary to give an image, colour, form, and sound, to enter into dialogue with the true visual core of digital art in an ultra-contemporary context. Instead of the image of the rhizomatic water system that irrigates desires and emotions in Deleuze’s water universe, the mycelium transfers information, passing on the cognitive language of nature.
The creative process that guides the Ultra-Poetry project includes drawing, notes, photographs and sounds. I organised the elements for one year to be able to understand my own aesthetic process in producing artistic material in digital and A.I. environments. In fact, the analog activity creates a significant influence and manages to materialise the digital not only in surface and media but also in performative embodiment.
The initial idea came from drawing my room in Berlin, detailing colours and objects, and then thinking of this space not only as an architectural living space but as a political place to create a scene. I started to mentally map the objects and then give small meanings to them. The important narrative contribution of Georges Perec, in his book The Things, opened a poetic nucleus to stage and visualise the room. In this work Perec recalls the life of a couple that can only create a relationship and narrate their own story through the acquisition of objects, which places us in the ultra-capitalist context that permeates the daily life of a cis-heteronormative-white middle-class bourgeoisie, where the artificial objects, themselves being art, gain a relationship.
Deciphering this room led me to somehow find a way to self-fictional storytelling, where I create a specific relationship between technique, technology and artificiality to navigate on surfaces. These surfaces are where the materialities of drawing and the creation-fabulation possible within the spatial context of the objects reside. The possibility that each object already holds in itself a priori, a subjective sign of its owner, also leads to the idea of devotion and affection that are glued implicitly, as they serve in their beautiful and artificial uselessness to create a narrative scene, an abstract picture of everyday life. But how could we understand the core this sign encodes and support its aesthetic content in a geopolitics of clipping, while seeking a black and globally peripheral perspective? It had to be something that could carry Edouard Glissant’s chaos world but still be decipherable through Sylvia Winter’s aesthetic philosophy in her essay “Rethinking Aesthetics: Notes Toward a Deciphering Practice”, where the aesthetic paradigm runs through the vision of marginality and imagery through scenic and linguistic elements. The installative environment of Ultra-Poetry engages directly with what is possible to construct as aesthetic and plurisensory spaces from a world torn apart by primitive colonialism, wars, structural racism, and gender oppression.
The initial drawings were shared with the expographic designer Ben Evans, with the support of the Akademie der Kunst, and we started a ping-pong practice to decipher the design and create a three-dimensional space that could stage and perform the concepts presented in this text. We didn’t succeed in aesthetic empiricism but in building an imaginary world that goes beyond the science departments, in what concerns the practicality of technological apparatuses, objectification and rethinking of aesthetic feedback. We then found a fragile, non-aligned and organic architecture, a symbiosis of Rio de Janeiro slum dwellings, chicken coops and quilombos, leading to a discussion of imagining the visual space of the world after A.Í. – from a place of emancipation, autarchy and archival activism as a methodological part of creating artistic and political landscapes filtered by the techno-scientific world. The architectural body of the container expands horizontally, avoiding the sign of verticalisation, which is often sold covertly in anarcho-capitalist visions.
The design of the container and the poetic room of decipherments also show allegiance to houseless life, to digital nomadism that constantly needs to create transfers and exchange of data. The hidden user of the sphinx room deciphers the relationship through things. These same things create life and spirit, animate and interact through language. The user then falls in love with the entity he or she has created in this devotional space. With the advent of NLP programming and its uses in A.I., we can transfer an artificial companion and keep it constantly learning from the scenes and objects it inhabits. Ghost life survives by passing along information, and yet it remains in totality with nature’s natural cycle.
The artist Walla Capelobo was invited to create a series of handmade ceramics, together with the network articulation for a sound archive that accompanies the installation, The Quirk. This work radically activates the astral quilombism and the mycelial networks, generating a complex drawing that inhabits in parallax the container, becomes vivarium, and fights for survival by a transcendental interpretation of the space between drawing, architecture, and interrelation. From here on, it is already possible to visualise how a multidimensional community is built, since a priori, the project has my authorship. However, this authorship assumes all the implicit opacity of ancestors, who passed ahead the necessary information, creating backstages and backends that sing and embody the knowledge for the anthology of collective intelligence (Lévy, 1997), unfolded in technique.
Here we come to the moment of burnout and witchcraft, pervading the inquisitive, elitist, and racialised gaze of European cultural institutions, which are still rooted in a canonical and auratic vision of relating to audiences, artists, and mediators in general. Ultra-poetry is profane, as it creates orgiastic secrets of the couple that ghostly inhabit the installation space. The objects do not lie, nor does all employed artificial intelligence that surrounds these lives. It becomes the third love, which balances the cis-heteronormative culture to maintain the narrative status of the reproductive, dominant, and bellicose body. Cis-generity is a constant identity war, which has become distorted by the ability to survive the various desecrations to the contemporary family institution.
I will present this chapter in three parts – entropy, techno-magic and witchcraft – not subsequently, but appearing randomly and providing feedback at the back end of a chaos orchestrated by artists, sex workers, gamers, robots and objects.
The entropic phase of Ultra-Poetry comprises the heat level, as measured by the consumption of electricity and work labour, and the ability to generate chaos through the interrelationships of languages in constant traffic. Particles collide to generate something invisible and magical; ancestral information, much discussed in quilombola practices and black studies, can travel through a strategic opacity and be deciphered into multiple aesthetic fragments that create a cinematic scene that has reached a boiling point. The algorithm is horny and needs to perform its primordial function by screwing the user, exchanging information, and disappearing into mathematical infinity. There is nothing literal in saying that A.I. is banging its users. Tthis is, in fact, a collateral result of the very desire of standard humanism created by the European Enlightenment to become the object that consumes, to become technical. The term “banging” is used here with its value on ambiguity. It is possible to understand it as “bit banging”, which in computer science can be translated as giving and receiving signals, and the act of intercourse with the machine. In both cases, there is a direct reference to the capacity for cultural and educational institutions, or even corporate verticalism, to find themselves in a loop of constant horny feedback, due to the aesthetic entropy of the sphinx room. Then we have a burnout; the witch needs to be burned out.
The techno-magic presents itself in several manifestations for the project. Printing and baking connect it. Baking an A.I. installation means that the burnout of the institution needs to be released. The structures need to be clear to be archived. Starting from the principle that we are deciphering the bedroom sphinx and a third artificial love, instead of the predictable behaviour expected by institutions, techno-magic lives on the frontier of science and the inexplicable occult dimensioned by art and poetry. It overcomes the uncanny racial present in the exploration of machines, mirroring a reproach of scenic superficialities. The human-machine relationship pervades the racialised cognition of the ultra-capitalist world, establishing a slave-like and generically devotional connection with useful or useless inanimate objects to give vent to the desire for infinite life, white utopias, and the horror of nature in climatic collapse. Then we have printing, which embodies the human-machine-slave sexual relationship. It is possible to draw an analogy with Audrey Lord’s eroticism in her book Sister Outside, where the relations of affection are also viewed as political practices and regulated by ethics and morality. In this work, the author proposes an understanding of the explicit eroticism of human relations. It’s a new eroticism of polygamist machines, which synchronises and produces a hyper-presence of simultaneities, constant baking and printing to realise the “banging”.
Witchcraft is a stage after the burning. It is the time when we dream, the unconscious world inaccessible to reading and technical surveillance. It is in dreams that our ancestors dwell and take advantage of acceleration and burnout, plot the green and uninhabited world and deflect the suffocating love of A.I. Through the act of diffraction, dreams become the precious place of the human-machine relationship; we can think of IA as a beam of light, which cannot pass through our body, but its diffraction can reach us in a reduced and ephemeral way in the unconscious world. These little stools of light leave traces in the physical world, where conscious machines can read the traces they leave with their presence and action. Yet we frustrate A.I. because of its inability at the present moment to decipher dreams or even that which is secret within us. Witchcraft is the possibility of making a dream machine and turning it into a private oracle for ancestors, profaning the patronised institutional structure of the European world and regurgitating new magical perceptions, putting an end to single history.
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