GUIDEBOOK for visual poetry 2005, Zinhar.com translated to english by SUZAN SARI edited by: babel
Achieving visuality is possible to restrict the matreial not visual. Elimination of the one not visual or at least keeping it at the lower level will bring foreground visuality. So, if the way of approaching to visual begins with the material not visual the field beyond the visual will be added here and even more the restrictions of visual will become larger by these new fields. Founding the syntaxes like hologram, typogram, orthogram, modern ideogram, and logogram in concrete poetry is actualized by expanding the material visual through the one not visual.
Visual or concrete poetry is a new experience because it utilizes forgotten techniques. Elementary school as its basic function (secondarily for its own profit) opens the doors to you through “literature”. While teaching this technology it compounds some beneficial “painting” tools for our advance in nonliteral (figurative) areas with literature, then interferes with the sprinkled speech in a complex way at an unexpected moment.
There has never been a time when painting and handwriting courses have been so close to each other. This begins with the old methods like special notebooks for handwriting, inkwells, divit*; children see the relation between the meaning and form of letters for the first time, and it is immediately corrupted before becoming mature. In this way the letter “a”s verbal and visual knowledge becomes complicated for us. Using stencils, stickers in writing, straightening letters and the absoluteness of forms add stationary business to handwriting courses. So writing is “corrected” by drawing, by the interference of school and the stationary market. This traumatic effect is revealed later in some conscious layer by the terrible repetitions of letters. This is the proposition: re-experiencing this by writing with stencils, printing and painting games for elementary schools, inkwells, divit*, etc. The combination of the concealed energies in language and this technique would be the genuine demonstration of visual poetry.
Sometimes insisting on a certain technique can be useful. For example, dividing a word into letters and syllables and later re-arranging this material on a page can earn practical experience. For that, a pen, sheets, scissors, glue, newspapers, magazines, catalogues, websites, word processors, graphical processors, print screen key etc. can be used. This is ultimately for gaining experience in using those tools. If we can not decide on a certain technique, we choose some of the remaining variations and use their versions later. The certain technique can be clear after a comparison between the versions we preferred using insistently and the ones we did first. The techniques we will use, how we will use them and their vehemence will be selected slowly. If we are in a virgin experience by accident or suddenly, at those moments is revealed the technique in the sense of a second-hand self-conditioning, and we see the sense dispatched to the technique itself. This sense is announced itself to the other schemes in the way which it has dispatched itself, struggled with them; this is the instant that the appearances of what is in spite of those schemes and by those schemes are left in the conscious. Like every comprehendable moment, as if it is a sort of house, completes space to time, keeping its true essence on the ground. But the senses that seem like they are promised to us can discombobulate a certain technique. These moments are sacred. Now it is the time that the “certain” of the certain technique is excessive and we are at a point of impossiblity where visual / concrete poetry begins. Impossibility is the last chance of displaying possibilities.
The re-production of the city itself entangles the person and that can not be disclosed or destroyed by only looking at “writing technology” because the compromise of the word with the vision triggers meaning immediately. This meaning is entirely a functional, abstract or concrete matter, consumption-oriented, and it establishes relations to dissolve subjectivities in equivalence to asserted companies and shifts in micro-authorities. As soon as the person looks into his own existence it puts the goods in front of him. Visual poetry is a map of gathering destruction of vision, the techniques of copy-paste, spotting on a page etc., and of unrelated techniques, converging in a scheming field, a mirror reflecting from outside to the inside.
Currency exchange has an effect on the amount of goods you can own, advertisements on your subconscious, share certificates on your share from national income, billboards on your visual delight, signboards on your space perception, articles in papers and magazines on your information process…They determine us.
Open a blank sheet and change it as you wish. Tell everything that makes you feel in their own languages. Give back what they have done to you.
The desire of uncompanionship that is the imagination of the heterotopic ones, including visual/concrete poetry, is all fictional and takes the opportunity that escapes its own beingness in a unique way (or not) to the boundary of impossibility. In the sublimation of spirit oneself figures itself out there, in the eternal long run of space or fullness of (the page), and attempts to go beyond the dimension and sheet of visuality, making representation something more than a mirror by making it directly exclude (but open to be taught by) things/objects. So this progress attaches the person, his language, his subconscious and the pre-language period to the things and the imagination and reality -of letters, fragile lines- which become confused at the highest level of tension. We must love and save the poetry placed in our minds for it is to be exceeded all the time as human beings (ref: zarathustra). The perspectives are broken through a meta-vision of place and time in this exceeding process, and the human being is confused by his own sight from then on. Confusion bonds the flesh and the spirit to each other, this is the visual and concrete poetry, the spiritual dimension of the process, places between the conscious and unconscious.
Generally in concrete poetry each letter is considered as a unit, and the pauses and subscribing of the coalescences reflect the whole image of the poem. The aim in concrete poetry, typography and visualization is partly placing the letters, words in the spaces on the page. If you glance at Campos’ and Günersel’s works you will see what I mean. Visuality works in two layers: first at the seeing eye, second at the localization of imagination which is reading and the things intended to be read according to each other. This is an energetic field and the eye goes there with the aim of reading poetry. Look from a distance at the poem.
Visuality in poetry can be supplied by presentation, coherence, description, eloquence, rhetoric, repetition, similarity, etc. The book "Zarla Asla Dönmeyecek Şans" (Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard) is one of the most concrete works of Mallarme, in a field that can be called certainty based on a plastic perception. If stones are words in poetry, they are going to be destroyed, too. So visuality can be started easily with an "a". If the meaning comes from compounding words, the same rationality can be used in destroying them. Destroy your letters.
Writing and vocalizing are not the same. Vocalizing "a" alone means nothing but its typographical and graphical appearance always comes ahead of its phonetical characteristics. When you see the letter "a", the fixed and crooked reflection pushes you to vocalize it from inside to outside. The reason for letters being the way we have been taught comes out in the process of deconstructing the meaningful or meaningless words and structures we have constructed with them. Deconstruct your words.
Writing is a technology and the effects such as underlining, italic, bolding, striking, do not work only as spots or relief. They are pathfinders for the eye. The relation of these emphases with the voice can be used to make visual the grades of lyrical expressions on the page. The relation between voice and writing can be provided by the topography of the surface. The letters or words that you take as poetic units can be arranged not according to an order based upon meanings but the creation of action for eye on page according to an order or disorder. Extend your letters.
Logos, placed in imagination, disguise their own meanings by a formal trick. Logos work in a field outside of speech. Visualization begins somewhere in speech, with an economical geometry beyond intelligence. Triangle, circle, squareâ?¦ line, fullstop, comma. Every letter is a statement of an unexpressed capacity. A, B, C .. is one of the basic elements in visualization while perceiving the world and things, and is the writing of confined relations to each other. Language, poetic language should be independent of this burden in the pursuit of impossibility. Ç can be a balloon unable to fly in reality.
Every new font is a tool of another technology carrying connections entirely for the eye: it is not speech anymore. Visual poetry is an attack on the hierarchy between letters. Fonts seem to us to constitute a serial; curls bring us new spots from nothingness. In this context visual poetry is about existence and being. Every new visual poem is the track of nothingness, the being not here, unseen.
Since printing has circumscribed the mind and the connections of mind (covering on themselves), paper (palimpsest) is not only a surface but superimposing of surfaces. A blank white paper is a map divided into invisible squares and wells. The spaces subdivided and owned by space can be regarded as a crossword puzzle. For example the letters “a”, “c”, “ç”, “ğ” can be on different parts of the page divided into 100 squares. The possibility of these letters being there is never fixed, for our reading does not always observe the same line. According to this, one letter can be somewhere independent of another.
Light is the energy falling upon the substance and it can be reflected from the surface or be absorbed or pass by to the other side of the substance. Visualization is the evaluating of the poem by visual energies.
Corporate logos, brands, headlines, all kinds of symbol we come across, go in and out of our eyes, and in actual life are deliberately suppressed and accounted images. The order of these images is a part of inherited structure and that is commercially oriented. A logo can never mean something out of its context. Deconstructing the penetrated meaning of the logo is possible only out of context. This is the making poem visual.
A visual poem is unmediated. It makes itself read no matter what usage of a letter, word, punctuation mark, line, curve. Substance constitutes typographical pictures in a sight of an iconic signifier (that there are resemblances in the form and itself) or symbolic signifier (there is unsubstantiated correlation between the form and itself) including or excluding the ways of reading and observing of the eye. It widens its field of expression by providing a contradiction to the generally approved clustering of letters and language, transforming them into components that can carry new meanings of a new whole in the direction of our subjectivity. It creates movement in every condition and requires the reader's attendance to this movement. It burdens vectors on the words at the degree of disintegration of forms, and visual poetry transforms into a resultant. This resultant completes it. Visual poetry provides the performer and likewise reader's swallowing in front of the greatness of the speech.
Imagine a perspective created by only playing with the size and the placements of letters and words on the page. The obscure sight of the intended expression can be noted down on the page. So the automatic function with which we are accustomed to see the writing is discharged for the seeing eye. Seeing fastens tightly to the action of making meaningful. In this way the poem cannot be narrated verbally.
Visualization of poetry begins and ends at the point when the poem is silent, when that poem is already mute. While we hardly look, things can be told, or become by accident and told, and arranged on the page; 1.7 megapixel screens, 17 inch screens, 51 screens are merciful to eyes. The duty of the eye is to capture the observable and the ones we have been observing from where they are observable, to scope the performer of the speech of the thing as much as speech, at the borderline of vision. Our all memories can be squeezed in and out of letters and words, numbers and $, pos machines, ATMs, X-ray films, cigarette packages, the 34th week score table, Warner Bros heroes and especially T-shirt labels or the cashier's shirt. Do not underestimate a graphical processor programme governing the letter and letters: a design is always more than a design, it being the residual of the memory and its concupiscence. Do not prevent the loosening of codes, messages, symbols seduced by your memory. Please.
Give up reading a line so cold-bloodedly, immediately. Do not accustom your eyes to move from left to right. Desire to see the whole at once. The whole, but not everything: look many times and make things visible many times. If it is useless all space is useless, if there is nothing to see on the page do not leave a useless blank on the page. Space is not the break-point for the eye. It is because you can see; reading is the half of seeing, see further while reading. Sacrifice the white of the sheet. Please, it is elegant.
Superpose on every moment that which is superposed on your eyes everyday. Talk to it and pick up the ones that can be talked to. The silence remaining behind is everything you have said. It is everything that made you talk. Put your letters here and there. In this font or that, but write with the awareness of the difference between standing HERE and THERE on the page at every moment, here and there, THIS WAY or THAT WAY, and the possibility of standing both ways. Detach the letters from the moments, take them into your imagination, process them. Process that which you can not talk about. This is the talent.
Text is the field that we can express what we understand or not and expose it to the eye. Bring together the things we can express in text and the other things our eyes are exposed to such as logos, signboards, shapes of the city and the city of shapes. For this generally a photographic processor, a graphic designing programme, a word processor and one piece of "you" are suggested. Do not pay attention but do whatever is necessary because every surface is a text. Even if it is blank. You fill.
Make visible the power of the reflexes that travel the invisible space between the cash stand and the department, the sofa and the fridge, the remote control and the television, the window and your eye, the apple on the tree and the earth. Transplant the gap carrying the visual tension of distances on to the surfaces, meeting on surfaces which are feasible.
Do not believe in the ones who say "Ask, how?" De/construct the letters and the words according to or in the other, abrogating the invisible in every blank. Interpret the blank field by the ones already being, that is the strength of the same nothingness. A letter can pull another, exceed the other. Respect the nothingness. Your opinion of jeans will change.
“Ask how”. “Search for examples”. Do not believe in them. Curve, crook the letters. Superpose them on the logos. Degrade the logos. Consider the reductions. Search for examples. For instance, decode a display board of dollar currency. You can comprehend the fluctuation of currency as the amount of per capital income. You can comprehend the extracted account of credit cards with the display board of dollar currency. In every foreign exchange office anything befalls to the person. You find out what it is. Take seriously the takings dividing “/” by persons. You use.
Visual poetry is not a picture but that does not mean it cannot use some pictorial techniques to a small extent. The letters are not convicted to be as they are when newly printed or on the screen. For example, the rough case of a newly printed visual poem can be finalized by using a watercolor paintbrush and black ink. If you want to create moving letters you can make weak winds splaying from inside of the letters with your paintbrush. For this you are not expected to be a painter. In fact the important thing is the letters, the way we use them; the techniques we use are only supporters and dependent on whether it institutes an attribution to the meaning of poem in us (the performer).
Barış Özgür, Deniz Tuncel, Serkan Işın, Şakir Özüdoğru, Volkan Çelebi, Suzan Sarı
* the guidebook is published firstly in Zinhar no:3 . this update compiled in november 2005 and articles are written without giving the names of writers.
Divit:-ti hist. a pen-case with inkwell, worn in the girdle by scribes
What is Zinhar? Zinhar started as a small website in 2003. This website was going to contain poems and critiques about poems and poetry in general. Meanwhile I was also searching for the ways of publishing the magazine electronically . Because the possibility of publishing the magazine and getting into contact with readers and writers by using the means of press was restricted and because of the high demand of the people, who want to publish their magazines, it became much harder to be able to survive in the crowd. Under these circumstances the first issue of Zinhar came out which was named as "Centrifugal"(choosing this name for the issue was not a coincidence). VisPO Gallery
Zinhar came out as an objection (resistence) to the people who were publishing something under the title of "poetry", to the imprudence of poetry which became apparent in the 90's and to the attitudes of the writers and readers who has capitalized and Mcdonaldized the history and the objects of the poetry.
This objection was for emphasizing that "poetry should not be displayed in such ways" and also it was determined to call attention to the tension between the insulative(intransitive) and closed structure of the literature society and the uncontrollable flaneurship of the internet wanderer (surfer) which was totally opposite to the other.
But then we realized that the tension was mainly a result of the problems occurring in the public mechanism and the change and deterioration in their perception of the poetry. Moreover we also realized that both sides were reacting wrong to these changes. We believe that the poetry of the "Oral/Literal" culture is not sufficient enough to respond to the means of "Visual/Textual" culture which keeps on both constructing and then de-constructing us every moment. As a consequence zinhar.com and Poetik Har(s) intends to visualize and textualise the "individual experience" both by using the media of press and electronics and by deconstructing the codes of the 21th century's "coded" life searches for the new ways for the poetry in the history of it.
Beside the Zinhar website there is also a magazine which is not published periodically and only delivered (under restricted conditions) to the readers who demands it by sending e-mail to us. Our aim is to provide visualization in the poetry by substituting the typographical possibilities for the conventional possibilities(facilities) of poetry and to define the visualization of poetry as a value. In this context Zinhar Magazine is prepared by the works of Deniz Tuncel, Derya Vural, Baris Özgür, ÖzcanTürkmen, Tarik Günersel, Ali Ömer Akbulut, Evrim Önk, Sakir Özüdoğru, Aslı Serin since the beginning and from now on it will be published by including the works of the people who are especially creating visual/concrete/experimental poetry.
It is important to emphasize that Zinhar aims to step in the areas of the Turkish Poetry History which are not stepped in (utilized) before in the context of the presentation of the poetry. Because The Second New Poetry(2. Yeni Siiri) movement had only dealed with the oral/literal presentation of the poetry and left the visualization of the historical material to the facilities of the "text". However the "text" itself is no longer sufficient to express the whirlpools of the life and what it can do is only reproducing images made of "word series" that are incapable of decoding the coded practicals(acts) of life.
In fact poetry is a mechanism that allow us to produce anti-codes by the help of these interventions against the codes that is imposed on us by the city/life. In an area which everything can be "symbolized" within whether it is mystic, semiotic or something related to justice, the poetry can criticize itself only by resolving these attacks which block its ways and by not allowing the everyday life to reduce its space.
In this context the stem (body) of the poetry should be transformed from word and sound into a series ( flow) of graphical presentation. Zinhar is DADA! In other words Dyonisiac Appollonian Dyonisiac Appollonian! Dada NEVER DIES! Serkan IŞIN
Translated by: Deniz Tuncel Written for 391.org issue 37: Bioscan