UBC | Digital Visions
Digital Visions
Caterina Davinio
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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 websit 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

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Site: http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Lights/7323/kareninarivista.html