Mayakovsky Dies Again (with the demise of Flash)

Last chance to experience Reconstructing Mayakovsky, our groundbreaking interactive “novel” put out in 2008, included in the 2nd volume of the Electronic Literature Collection and still being taught at the university level. It has been an amazingly good run, but obsolescence is a key mechanic operative in the work. The archive, which has linked not downloaded information, has slowly been collecting 404 errors.

The investment video (adapted from a particularly disturbing real DARPA conference slide show) which got picked up by real investment sites when we posted to Youtube with #future #investment #money #science #AI has been buried by 13 years of cat videos, the real time Google image search has been broken for a while. So, you will have to imagine for yourself what “hope” and “evil” and “human” look like.

We were always interested in keeping time as part of the novel and with time comes mortality and change. Mayakovsky is about the impossible dream of the end of history, the final number, the solitary genius artist, the vile absurdity of war. It’s a work, a kind of sci-fi detective story, that utilizes mostly open source code and “found” digital objects. The original 90,000 words of text (a lot of which is appropriated) is read through a series of “mechanisms” including a manifesto, a concrete poetry machine, a hand-drawn animation created in collaboration with Pelin Kirca, and an audio soundscape.

For our part, we hope RM can live on in printed form. The book then becomes the artifact that remains, the bones of something that was once alive. We are looking for a publisher, yes!

This project remains remarkable. Honestly, I look at it and wonder how in the hell we managed to do it. So, maybe some student or computer whiz will be interested in reconstructing Reconstructing Mayakovsky? Remaking it and adding, changing, or remixing? That would make us very happy. And, Mayakovsky, too. We could also see this as a physical and virtual installation if some forward thinking gallery is interested.

Here is Vera X. our heroine, (the main characters are Vera, Nadja, and Luis Blue– for those of you who know Russian, there is a thought puzzle there, and a clue, like everything in the novel… ) Here, is when Vera decides to resurrect Mayakovsky as a virtual being to save OnewOrld, even though she knows it may kill her. Is it an act of heroism, faith, or crazy despair? You get to decide.

“She does not want annihilation. She wants the center to hold, she wants it even in the face of knowing that it may not. That is courage, she thinks. That is love. No longer can she proceed into the future secure in the knowledge that parallel lines do not meet, that the sky will not fall, that the dead will not rise. She cannot say, ‘These things do not happen and it is good that they do not.’ Because the sky did fall and the dead did rise and things happen with poetic synchronicity. She is seeking neither the mechanized assurances of reason nor the feverish augury of faith, but something beautiful and fragile and incomparable.”

The last word of the novel–there is no last word online! ) is “yes.”

Happy New Year All!

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