In keeping with Fluxus
ideals, the site hosts virtual poetry/performance works
as well as a vast and varied collage of essays (in
many languages), digitized musical pieces, and poetically
charged images (where the aesthetic of the image itself
takes second place to the literary message embedded).
Also, there is a degree of direction applied to the
flow of information and conversations to maintain them
within the channel of experimental art and poetry.
Karenina.it is not restricted or controlled by the
curator but is neither left completely free or open,
otherwise the resulting effect would literally be that
of a bulletin board for literary intellectuals.
It is essential to point out that the
site also has an embedded conceptual side note that
has interesting literary references. The name chosen,
Karenina.it, refers strongly to Tolstoy’s tragic
character Anna Karenina. Bound by the social situation
of the time period and social class she was born into
(nineteenth century high-class Russia), Anna Karenina
tragically chose to commit suicide by jumping under
a speeding train, a new technological addition to her
world. The Karenina.it website plays upon the character’s
life in many ways.
Karenina is revived in the Karenina.it virtual form - how ironic a character that chose death
by a new technology should be reborn in a technologically
advanced form with the addition of the ‘.it’ suffix.
The website collects open literary discourse and functions
as an open gateway that links people and opens up numerous
pathways for communication - the literary Karenina
was not only bound by the social structure she lived
in, but her actions as a character were decided by
her author/creator, Tolstoy. The virtual Karenina.it
not only speaks for herself, but has been purposefully
created as an open entity by her originator, Caterina
Davinio. Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is trapped in
the tradition that surrounds her, much like digital
art seems trapped in the same paradigms of form and
aesthetics that define visual art. Karenina.it is strongly
literary, anti-traditional and very avant-garde. The
single word embedded inside it becomes art, free from
aesthetic judgement and vibrant in its phatic function.
Specifically, it is the virtue of the
phatic function that creates conceptual strength in
the site. The flow of words becomes art, conceptually
tied to a freedom from traditional paradigms of art
critique. Fluxus questioned such paradigms by emphasizing
the importance of the conceptual element over the visual.
Karenina.it does the same in web-literary terms by
presenting words as art and their literary landscape
as the only visual reference.
Written by: Enrico Gianfranchi