Vicci Ho is a writer, film programmer and producer. She has written for Variety and worked for film festivals across the globe, including Toronto International Film Festival, Zurich Film Festival and directed the Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.  She is the President of Janitor Interactive: a production company specializing in games.

This is her personal page.

Language, form, creative reading

I am not sure if it is a normal reaction to have when one is reading Padgett's "Creative Reading Techniques", but I felt very uncomfortable at trying to read a text 'creatively'. It is as though I am violating the text, the words as it should be written, or how the author intended it to be read. But Padgett did raise many interesting points about whether we are really capable of reading a text with utter devotion: i think back on the times when my mind wander and needing to re-read the text, or when certain words are cut off in a photocopy, requiring me to TRY and understand what was being said. I have also skipped over words I don't understand and try and estimate the meaning, or even trying to interpret what the author is intending: If everything is so black and white, then I guess we won't have English / art / cultural / literary studies! Another aspect of creative reading that I find very interesting is make one aware of how CONSTRUCTED language is. When we think about grammar, sentence structure, or the method in how to read a particular text (eg: left to right, up to down, sentence by sentence), it is ultimately how we are taught to read and write: rules of language have changed over time and different languages employ different rules. For example: Chinese is written vertically and page turns go in the opposite direction to English books, and knowing both languages, I would never confuse the rules of language 'naturally' (I know it's not the best word to use...)

To me, creating your own works and meanings from playing with words, how we read a text or manipulating the rules of language is a very post-structural (and indirectly, post-modern) concept. While I was uncomfortable to try some of the methods of creative reading suggested by Padgett (and to be honest, I still do, as it is so different to what I am used to!), I also find it really fun, and sometimes the results surprise even myself.

To think that by parsing or greping can create works of poetry might seem like a scandalous idea...I can imagine poetry purists fuming at the idea that a formula, or an algorithm, can create poetry, but what is poetry if not manipulating language and form? I am really excited by the idea of playing around with the rules of language and seeing what I can come up with.

DoE - Live Drawing

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