Far from being just an assortment of found dissertations and poetry cut-outs assembled according to an obscure plan, the Karenina.it website is far from being a useless jumble of literary material. Its contents are structured and clear, though its form and aesthetic is rather reminiscent of a notice board cluttered with announcements. Much in line with the Fluxus aesthetic explained above, Karenina.it is in fact permeated with a playful look that contrasts the deeply intellectual contents of the articles.
Though the website could pass for a generic on-line journal, it rather is, in Davinio’s own words, a ‘place of aggregation.’ The site, in fact, is host to an ongoing discourse and debate which involves artists and critics alike, as well as artwork and the responses it generates. There is a tangible feeling of constant discussion between contributors to the site, as educated voices emerge from the visually chaotic environment. The communication aspect is treated as an artistic medium that goes beyond the contents of the dialogues or the quality of the words used in them. The flow of words and information become art in themselves, transcending the necessity to view art in traditional terms of form and the like.
‘Poetry in phatic function’ is, in fact, Davinio’s way of describing the activity in her site. According to Roman Jakobson’s communication model, the phatic function is the use of language that maintains and augments the flow of information between the interlocutors. Communication is the artistic material. The ability of the site to generate and maintain open many simultaneous pathways of discussion is what makes it successful, not only as a portal for literary discourse, but also as a piece of art in itself. Davinio, therefore, is the curator of the virtual space and also both artist and architect of the literary landscape created.
The website escapes tradition and pushes through the boundaries of the avant-garde in terms of digital art. The Fluxus movement, upon which the Karenina.it site is structured, emphasizes on the chaotic aspect as a means of undermining traditional ways of viewing and understanding art. The site does the same in terms of digital art. Where digital art promised to offer the tools to easily create aesthetically appealing and successful images, Karenina.it not only provides a visually chaotic environment that undermines the power of the digital image as an aesthetically alluring product, but questions the strength of the iconic image when placed against a verbally striking and pulsating counterpart. The image appears static, while the word, in the Karenina.it phatic function, is alive and vibrant. The flow is endless, therefore the site is essentially in an eternally unfinished state and cannot be judged by the same standards as a completed image. The importance and conceptual focus here is placed upon the process of communication rather than upon an appreciation for a finished and edited product. The flow of information is appealing and fascinating, forcing the viewer to read and become mentally involved. Rather than passively responding to the basic visual element of the site, the viewer is drawn in to explore the literary landscape present.
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