Abra at Naropa

Abra joined forces with the VNiverse and Pry for a panel on the haptics of touchscreen reading at the inaugural Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics Conference. Our panel was simultaneous with amazing panels on “Writing: The Poetics of Trash” and “Ecoskeletons of Language, Sound, and Impossibility,” so if we could have split the hive mind and attended all three, we would have! We’re grateful to those who sat in, who shared ideas and work with us all weekend, and our co-panelists, who helped us think about touching language.


Here’s our panel description:

Touching Writing, Haptic Thinking: Embodiment, performance, and touch-screen literature

Sunday at 1:00pm Sycamore 8120

Amaranth Borsuk, Kate Durbin, Samantha Gorman, Ian Hatcher, and Stephanie Strickland. How do touchscreens affect the writing, thinking, and being of authors and readers? On this panel, artists who have created app-based works for iPad will discuss the haptics of touchscreen interactive texts. What is gained or lost in the digitally “disembodied” medium? How do touch-based works implicate the body in the reading experience, and what sort of poetics do the mechanics of these gestures imply? How can this interface facilitate a tactile engagement with the mind of the poem, the protagonist, and the author him or herself? This hybrid panel will include discussions of Abra, an artist’s book and iPad app created by Borsuk, Durbin, and Hatcher through a grant from the Center for Book and Paper Arts; Pry, an iPad novella by Samantha Gorman and Danny Cannizzaro that explores a character’s cognition and memory through unique reading interfaces; and Vniverse, an intermedial plane at the center of Stephanie Strickland’s WaveTercets / Losing L’una, originally released as a Macromedia Director website and recently reimagined for iPad. These very different texts (generative artwork, cinematic fiction, and recombinant poetry) are united in their desire to create digital literature that pushes beyond the boundaries of the ebook to create immersive haptic experiences in which gesture informs our understanding of the text. Following their discussion of the way these works perform on-screen and in the reader’s hands, the panelists will give their texts voice, demonstrating the range of performance practices haptic reading occasions for both author and reader.