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Recombinatorial Poetry Wheel

2018 Karlsruhe, Germany
Coauthor: Sarah Kenderdine, Edwin Nadason Thumboo

In the tradition of the OuLiPo—workshop of potential literature, this interactive installation gives visitors the opportunity to recombine the poetic ensemble of the preeminent Singaporean poet Edwin Thumboo. Twenty-seven of his best-known poems are redefined as polyvocal readings that de- and reconstruct his original oeuvre, creating a live performance with continuously emergent vectors of meaning.

The 200 cm-diameter, round wall-projected image shows a clock-like circle of twenty-seven figures of the poet. The visitor uses a circular knob to rotate a white dot around the edge of the circle to choose one of the figures and thereby trigger his reading of a particular poem that will continue until another figure is chosen. By moving the marker from one figure to another the viewer interrupts the ongoing reading and jump-cuts to a different poem and reading. The resulting indeterminate machination of Thumboo’s poetry readings, shown also as printed texts across the center of the screen, constructs an infinitely recombinatory new poetic entity out of his oeuvre.

Exhibition Record

2018/3/17 - 8/5:  DIA-LOGOS: Ramon Llull & the Ars Combinatoria, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany

2018/11/3 - 2019/3/10:  Thinking Machines: Ramon Llull & the Ars Combinatoria, ArtLab, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland

2019/2/23 - 2021/3/28:  Writing the History of the Future, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany

2019/4/19 - 7/7:  Passé Augmenté x Présent Augmenté, Arts Center of Enghien-les-Bains, Enghien-les-Bains, France