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Conferência por Tatiani Rapatzikou

Cartaz de Tiago Santos.

Cartaz de Tiago Santos.

No próximo dia 18 de março de 2016 (sexta-feira), na Sala de Seminários de Estudos Ingleses (6º piso, FLUC), às 14h30, tem lugar a conferência “Language Codes and Materialities: Michael Joyce, Ann Carson and Jonathan Safran Foer” por Tatiani Rapatzikou. Tatiani Rapatzikou é professora no Departamento de Literatura e Cultura Norte-Americana da Universidade Aristóteles de Salónica e a sua visita à Universidade de Coimbra decorre no âmbito de uma missão Erasmus.


The three following distinct literary examples – Michael Joyce’s Was (2006), Anne Carson’s Nox (2006), and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes (2010) – move between language codes, artistic techniques and materials for the establishment of dynamic and variable patterns of visual and verbal communication. In particular, what these three texts introduce is an experiential and participatory form of narrative practice that is visually, verbally, spatially and conceptually intriguing due to the various inscription and book design techniques it resorts to.

In Joyce’s case, it is his collaboration with Alexandra Grant’s babel painting, produced almost consecutively with his novel Was, that will be commented on here. In both cases, Joyce’s and Grant’s works use familiar materials, techniques and forms–the material page, the painted canvas, and the printed or handwritten text–so as to sensitize us towards the interconnections and interrelations that can emerge as we move through and shift between languages, codes and mediums of expression. It is the movement across or transition between Joyce’s and Grant’s pieces that sheds light on the different processes at work as information moves, repurposes and remediates itself.

As regards Carson, the multilayered and polymorphous text that gradually unfolds through Nox’s fold-out book structure enhances the physicality of the experience conveyed. Nox is not just a beautiful art book object but a piece of craftmaship that invites readers to trace its muffled dialogues, conversations, sounds, and emotions, as well as investigate the missing sentences and words or the spaces left and created between the pasted documents in their effort to decode the experiences that are contained or hidden within it.

Finally, in Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes, the book and the story contained in it has been carved out of Bruno Schulz’s Street of Crocodiles narrative in an attempt to create not another version of Schultz’s stories but a material object within which language takes on tangible qualities that expose its recombinatory, intra-genre and translatable ability due to the intervention of various print and digital practices. Safran Foer’s challenging book invites readers to re-evaluate the semantic, material and technological significance of the book form not as a mere container of texts but as a generative mechanism that triggers different language, textual and material effects.

Overall, this presentation through the examples it will touch upon will focus on various manifestations of materiality, and the multiple perspectives and insights it offers into artistic practice, print design, digital coding and textuality for the creation of a novel literary experience.

Tatiani G. Rapatzikou is Assistant Professor in the Department of American Literature, School of English, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh), Greece. Her publications (monograph, articles, edited volumes) focus on contemporary American literature (fiction and poetry), technological uncanny, cyberpunk/cyberculture (with emphasis on William Gibson) as well as on digital and print narrative practices. In 2009, she was awarded a Fulbright Visiting Scholar grant for her research in contemporary American fiction and digital media (M.I.T. Comparative Media Studies program). In 2012, she was a Visiting Research Scholar at the Literature Program (Duke University), and winner of the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund international competition for her project “Urban Environments in Transition” ( Her current research addresses digital literature and multimodal narratives.


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