“Ars Combinatoria” and the emergence of Metatextuality



  • “Ars Combinatoria” and the emergence of Metatextuality



  • This workshop traces the evolution of ‘Ars Combinatoria’ from the perspective of its cultural histories manifested in various visual arts, music, writing, and design combinatory systems.

    Syllabaries and the alphabet are systems designed to synthesize written propositions, but the first text that can be considered as using combinatorial principles was the I-Ching with its binary-based language.

    In the 13th century, Ramon Lull produced a series of concentric movable wheels considered to be the first textual sentential machines. Lull was read by Giordano Bruno, in the 16th century, and both were later read by Leibniz, inspiring his Dissertatio de Arte Combinatoria.
    The ancient pattern poetry, the literary methods of Mallarmé, the typographic works of Tristan Tzara, the puns and language games of Lewis Carrol, the portmanteau words of James Joyce, the potential literature of the French group Oulipo, or the cut-ups of William Burroughs, can trace a literary history of Ars Combinatoria. Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee have developed generative processes for their creative and teaching strategies. Klee’s pedagogical notebooks provide designed diagrams on visual combinatorial principles.

    All those historical procedures have been re-conceived as elements of an evolutive process since the emergence of the computer as a semiotic machine, able to recombine signs through mathematical algorithms. This computational writing methodology proposes creative dialogues between the manifested linguistic structures and the possible modifications they can introduce through algorithms specially designed to work as machinic, digital, and/or net-based authors.

    The interconnection between the meta-authored text and the resulting work could be analyzed through a form of genealogy. How does the original project resurface visually and/or conceptually in the final product? The meta-discourse may reappear as an index, but sometimes it is wholly precluded. Then, the outcome does not reveal its genetic diagram which could remain secret, lost, or inaccessible.


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