“The Sweet Old Etcetera” is an interactive web project that sets the poetry of E.E Cummings against an imaginary landscape. Initially, the landscape is bare but through gradual interaction, fragments of poems begin to grow and individual letters become energetic and often misbehaving protagonists of each story-poem.
Artist’s Statement: The poetry of E.E. Cummings is highly visual, playful and experimental. In his collection Chansons Innocentes the imagery is of children at play; similarly, Cummings plays with language the way a child might break a toy apart and play with the resulting pieces. His breaking of syntactic structures makes some works appear more like computer code than conventional poetry, with the rhythms owing more to speech and phonetics than metricality. Perhaps as a direct result of the fact that he was also a painter, his poetry must be read on a visual level with regard to both form and content.
It is this spirit of inventiveness and experimentation combined with a highly visual content that lends itself to interactive net-art. Flash offers the possibility of making graphic, text, and sound objects react to user’s mouse movements, creating a dynamic multimedia experience. Treatment of the poetry of Cummings in this way removes it from the confines of the static printed page, with the aim of bringing a new level of engagement to the contemporary reader.
“The Sweet Old Etcetera” is a personal response to the poet’s work, aiming to capture the poems’ playful spirit in an interactive, experimental and highly visual way.
About the Artist: Alison Clifford is an artist based in Glasgow, Scotland. Her work is concerned with defining notions of the interstitial–or in-between–through digital art. She is interested in processes of translation between different forms of media, considering the new creative possibilities that result from what is lost or gained through such interpretation.
Works include net-art, experimental film, interactive works and audiovisual installations. She has exhibited widely in various international new-media and electronic art festivals and exhibitions, and has received several prestigious awards and commissions. These include a BAFTA nomination for interactive media, a commission from SFMOMA, and recent inclusion in the second edition of the Electronic Literature Collection.
She is currently undertaking PhD study at Glasgow School of Art; prior to this she gained a Master in Digital Art from the Audiovisual Institute, University of Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), and an MA (Hons) in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh.
She lectures in Digital Art at the University of the West of Scotland and is a research associate at the Centre for Creative Futures.
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