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Media - performance. 2013

The aim of the performance is the conversion of textual space into visual space. Is it possible to determine the colour of a poem? We all know that every colour can be decomposed into three elements: red, green, and blue. In mathematics, they are only a chromatic basis chosen by a scientist. I have tried to draw a 'tentative' analogy in the textual space and visualise it through a java script I have written.

In order to determine a poem's colour we will specify the chromatic poetic basis of the 20th century. Let us take three pivotal Russian poets of its first decades who differ from each other the most; Mayakovsky is red, Akhmatova is blue, Vvedensky is green. Then let us upload their whole poetic corpora into the script. The program will compare every poem read by volunteers against those corpora word by word. Add some computational linguistics and some mathematics – and we will get the percentage of Mayakovsky, Akhmatova, and Vvedensky in the poem. Thus, we will get the percentage of red, blue and green – and therefore, a ¬¬resulting colour!

The performance was created for the 20th Vers Libre Festival in Moscow where every participating poet was analysed in the course of their reading. The analysis showed percentage of each colour (i.e. resemblance to Mayakovsky, Akhmatova, Vvedensky), after which the reader’s portrait was superimposed with a structure of the text they have read where congruent words were highlighted with colour (words congruent to more than one poet blink, creating a glitch effect – different for each author due to different structures of their texts); finally, the whole portrait is tinted in a resulting colour. The performance was repeated several times at contemporary poetry readings and galleries where anyone’s text could be analysed.