Mille Nanni | Balestrini "cibernetico"
On 3rd July 2022, I was invited to present a paper at the 3-day event organised by Andrea Cortellessa and Giuseppe Morra to celebrate Nanni Balestrini's work: Mille Nanni. The event was held at the Fondazione Morra in Naples - if you are not familiar with this venue, this is the place where Marina Abramović had her Rhythm O performance in 1974. The event was a combination of artists' performances, roundtables, and convivial moments - you can find the full programme here. My roundtable, with Ada Tosatti (Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3), Cecilia Bello Minciacchi (La Sapienza, Rome), Chiara Portesine (Scuola Normale in Pisa), scholar Gian Paolo Renello, and writer Tommaso Ottonieri, has been a great occasion to show yet another plane of the thousands which characterise Balestrini's activity, i.e. his interest in the relationships between writing, computers and networks. Balestrini was not only a pioneer of Italian electronic literature, as he created the first computer poem in the history of world e-lit, Tape Mark 1; but he also been a tireless experimental poet in the area of generative literature. In my book Opera aperta. Italian electronic literature from the 1960s to the present, my chapter 6 offers a comprehensive account of what I consider three key moments of this experimentation: Tape Mark 1 (1961), Tristano (1966), and Epreuves d'écriture (1985). What emerges in the course of 25 years is that the possibility to free new signifieds thanks to the collaboration between poets and computers, as well as other properties of the "opera aperta" such as ambiguity, polyvalence, indeterminacy, and discontinuity, has been dramatically reduced by the rise of networks.
Together with my chapter 6, I do recommend reading Jean-Francçois Lyotard who has written on the experience of Epreuves d'écriture in the publication following the experiment, as well as in this 1990 article focusing on Jacques Derrida; Andreas Broeckmann who has also commented on this experiment of collaborative writing here. I also recommend Francesca Gallo's account on Les Immateriaux: Francesca Gallo: Les Immatériaux: Un Percorso di Jean-François Lyotard nell’arte contemporanea. Rome: Aracne, 2008.