oracle Chia-ku-wen, bone-and-shell script on a tortoise carapace, c. 1300-1100 BC. A tool for divination, questions were scratched into the surface of fresh bones and thrown into a fire. Cracks would appear, the diviner or shaman answered questions based on the interpretation of these cracks. The question might be whether next year's harvest would be good or if a neighbour shared feelings of love. Are there 'shamans' today? Where do the cracks convergence, what questions might they suggest... verve
'A lot of people, a lot of instruments...'

Verve: The Other Writing is a chance to experience some of the other forms of inscription that constitute language, the other that shifts, vitalises and generates change. Verve considers the array of effects technologies have on the ways we read, write and generate language. The program operates at the intersections of writing with the visual arts, music, performance and contemporary digital practices.

There is no doubt that western cultures are at the cusp of a massive shift from traditional print publishing to digital and specifically Internet publishing and commerce. Just what is the new and where are the connections with the old? How can and do we negotiate the plethora and the sheer quantity of visual and aural information available now. What other ways are there to read and to write, and how can we best invent ways of writing that operate as living growing instances of cultural specificity and plurality.

Verve has presented performances, exhibitions, lectures and workshops by 34 local and international artists, thinkers, writers and musicians. Guests included Bill Seaman (keynote speaker at Ngapartji), Sue Thomas (UK, Director of the trAce online writing community, keynote speaker at Ngapartji), Terri-ann White, and Linda Carroli. Performances included an improvised real time conversation that might be called CYBERPIDGIN via cu-see-me with Dr Linda Marie Walker and Dr Gregory L. Ulmer.

Historically Verve considers Egyptian hieroglyphics, ancient and contemporary Japanese calligraphy. Japanese inscription is typified by a visual approach to language. A stroke can be a poem, a direction and a work of art, meaning always shifts depending on the relationship between a multitude of elements. Kanji and kana scripts sit side by side. Ukiyo prints and Japanese comics (manga), are natural extensions of this particularly visual language. Writing and reading with 'pictures' is represented in Verve by comic book favourites, Batman and Phantom, created in South Australia by Glenn Lumsden and David deVries. The influence of manga as a style is prevalent in the works, especially the later Batman series. Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks has a large contingent of fans in Australia. Glenn and David have given the Phantom a particularly contemporary feel, disrupting the earlier colonialist narratives and imbuing the stories with many local, Australian references. This is not the Phantom you find in the newspaper each day.

Chance operations and improvisations are threaded throughout the program. Adelaide musician and teacher Stephen Whittington performed works by John Cage and Eric Satie, along with Rene Claire's "Entracte", drawing links between the avant-garde practices of Dada, Fluxus and contemporay digital sound performances like those instigated by  r a d i o q u a l i a. These are performances and events that explore process rather than outcome.

Based on the popular Noon Quilt at trAce Online Writing Community, the Electronic Writing Research Ensemble's contribution to Verve, ::pricklings::, is an opportunity to write up to 100 words from anything that relates to notions of 'other writing'::pricklings:: makes a pattern, a design based on a number of variables; time of submission, number of words perhaps. These variables determine location on the screen and the 'colour' of your submission. If you are lucky enough to be in Adelaide for the Festival you may want to write with or from a performance, event or exhibition. Those who are logging in from elsewhere can be part of the broadcasted proceedings at Ngapartji or join the vervewriting forum

Verve: The Other Writing is a chance to look at, to listen to and sometimes to touch or to speak all the other sorts of inscription that constitute language. To smell the grass perhaps. There are variations in the environments and vehicles that we may call Other - other from linear narratives, the way a body moves with(out) thinking, reading or dreaming with jet trails in the sky. Verve plays with the 'other' that bothers the same; the other that shifts, vitalizes and generates change. I hope you will take this opportunity to brush against the text and consider relationships between elements in a multitude of ways.

Teri Hoskin
  verve/vuhv/n 1 the spirit and enthusiasm animating artistic work 2 energy, vitality [F, fantasy, caprice, animation, fr L verba, plural of verbum word]

"But to improvise is to join with the World, or meld with it. One ventures from home on the thread of a tune. Along sonorous, gestural, motor lines that mark the customary path of a child and graft themselves onto or begin to bud "lines of drift" with different loops, knots, speeds, movements, gestures, and sonorities."
Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus

In 'A History of Reading', Alberto Manguel writes a long list of writing's many guises, the writing that a reader deciphers. "Some of these readings are coloured by the knowledge that the thing read was created for this specific purpose by other human beings - music notation or road signs, for instance - or by the gods - the tortoise shell, the sky at night. Others belong to chance. And yet in every case, it is the reader who reads the sense; it is the reader who grants or recognizes in an object, place or event a certain possible readablitity". Later in the text he quotes the 1st century caliph al-Hakim who noted that it is the role of the reader to render visible "that which writing suggests in hints and shadows."


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Project Coordinator: Teri Hoskin
tel: +61 8 8410 2166
mob: 0407 722 486
@: verve@vervewriting.org

Verve: The Other Writing has been commissioned by the Telstra Adelaide Festival, ANAT (the Australian Network for Art and Technology), CACSA (the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia) and is supported by Ngapartji Multimedia Centre, Artlab Australia and eWRe(the Electronic Writing Research Ensemble). The Festival is grateful to the EAF (Experimental Art Foundation) for the loan of works from their Artists Book Collection and the Contemporary Art Centre for the use of their venue.