Titled, “Untitled” presents a compendium of language games by the artist, in conversation with various models of language. The compendium takes the form of a literary online wiki and documentation of a (previously instantiated) physical reading space. Each entry offers a summary of a theoretical framework before presenting a work implementing it, working with its metaphors, or drawing attention to the remainder the theory excludes. Many of the language games are readable or playable in the browser window, made available from links within the wiki. Given the virtual exhibition setting and the projects’ concern with transformations between virtual and physical contexts, the remaining physical pieces are made playfully accessible through a videoconferencing language game permitting audience members to command the author.
A compositional semantics parses sentences about two rooms while an author interjects other assertions. A recurrent neural network struggles to make sense of contrasting training texts. A vector-space thesaurus degenerates sentence constellations. A self-published book licensed for free use gathers and prints probable phrases not previously found in an archive. A computational embroidery machine stitched metaphors about text, thread, and textile, generated from a historical corpus and converted by a mouse and keyboard macro into stitching patterns. A physics engine drops 3d words through gamespace. A cellular automaton transforms common consonants and vowels into words and a territory.
An iteration on an MFA thesis work exhibited as part of the UC Santa Cruz Digital Arts and New Media show Receivership, Titled, "Untitled" asks how and where digital literary art can approach human language’s contemporary situations, contextualizing its practice alongside late 20th century movements intervening artistically in language.
Concerns across Titled, “Untitled” include the materialities of digital language; the problem of digital language’s simultaneous algorithmic processors and human audiences; the search for positive semantic or human possibilities in linguistic positions or identities defined as a negative space (such as “queer” or “person of color”); and the social, corporate, and technical infrastructures that mediate digital speech.
By presenting a cluster of related but often contrasting or mutually-undermining projects, it hopes to enact its understanding of human language(s) (influenced substantially by Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations) as a range of acts and behaviors connected by family resemblances rather than unified formal theory or clear hierarchical organization. The wiki and the reading space are presented as component projects themselves, even as they present the others.
About the Artist
Kavi Duvvoori is a usually-constrained writer interested in the algorithmic mediation of language, simulation games, and literary and linguistic nonsense; in developing and being held to poethical political and personal practices of anti-oppression and anti-imperialism, in problems of reference or summary (including the biographical), and in apophatic gestures. They are licensed by degrees in mathematics and literary arts from Brown University, an MFA in Digital Arts and New Media from UC Santa Cruz, live in Toronto, and intend to begin a PhD in English at the University of Waterloo. See https://kavid.xyz/semiprof/