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MUJERES EN LOS TIEMPOS DE BORGES Y KAFKA

Tamara Moura Costa

#creativeCoding

#generativeArt

#feministAndAntiracistActivism


Introduction

Mujeres en los tiempos de Borges y Kafka (Women in Borges and Kafka’s times) is a generative poem created in Processing, an open source programming language. The goal is to make evident and visible the construction of repressive meanings through literary pieces. Specifically, in this Women Project, the intention is to highlight the elaborated image that male writers made towards women, always inventing a weak, unbalanced character and as an object of consumption and bribery.


The Recipe

A crowd of people are gathered in front of the Argentine National Congress, carrying demonstration signs constructed out of fabric banners and long poles. In the background the National Congress building partially covered by construction scaffolding. The building rotunda is centered in the photo. Clouds are scattered in the sky overhead.
Feminist manifestations in Buenos Aires taken in 2018-2020. Image credit: Tamara Moura Costa.

The current context in Argentina and Latin America, allows the work to be imbued with a sense of value that would not be the same in another time or space. The interpreter is associated with certain speeches or representations that function in a given society and energizes the adjudication of senses.

A crowd of people are gathered in 25 de Mayo Avenue, carrying demonstration signs constructed out of fabric banners, paper, flags with short and long poles. Most people with umbrellas due to rain and flares going off.
Feminist manifestations in Buenos Aires taken in 2018-2020. Image credit: Tamara Moura Costa.

By using the texts Del infierno y del cielo (Of Hell and Heaven) (1960), Jorge Luis Borges and y El proceso (The Process) (1925), Franz Kafka; all the sentences containing the word “woman” or “women” are extracted from them, and a prose poetry of six verses (three of Borges’ book and three, from Kafka’s) is generated by randomly combining them.

“Woman/en” appears at the beginning of each verse which gives it a literary structure and rhythm, thus creating an anaphora. The poem is automatically renewed after a certain time - calculated - with a new combination of random sentences that begin with the word “woman/en” and so on.

Generative poem example 1:  Mujeres en los tiempos de Borges y Kafka  mujer que acababa de perder a su hija sobre el destino que, según ella, le habría tocado a su alma mujer, enrojecida en el fuego mujer a un amigo; cuando llega a esa etapa, se siente engañado por esa mujer. mujer, vacía, sí, porque ella pertencía a K. mujer que en estos momentos estaba junto a la ventana, con ese esbelto cuerpo ágil y ardiente, de traje negro, de una tela burda y corriente, pertencería del todo sólo a él mujer, pero no se dio por importunado y aún la estrechó con más fuerza.
Generative poem example 1. Image credit: Tamara Moura Costa.
Generative poem example2:  Mujeres en los tiempos de Borges y Kafka  mujeres que con su locuacidad atormentaron a sus maridos, son ahorcadas y su lengua les sale por el cuello. mujer es un leño descarado y furioso: tus ojos y no Dios, los creó así. mujeres igualmente varios. mujeres, y las había conversando, estacionadas en la escalera. mujer, escuchaba la pregunta y se volvía hacia alguien que, por lo regular, se incorporaba en la cama. mujer joven, de ojos negro, que lavaba en un cubo ropa de niños, indicándole con la mano japonesa la puerta de la pieza vecina.
Generative poem example 2. Image credit: Tamara Moura Costa.
Mujeres en los tiempos de Borges y Kafka  mujeres que le habían dado muerte en otro tiempo, no queriendo merecer su nacimiento a ninguna de ellas; y al alma de Tamiris escoger la condición de ruiseñor. mujer hábil en trabajos manuales; el alma del bufón Tersites, que se presentó de los últimos, vistió el cuerpo de un mono. mujeres, como en los tiempos de Feridum; allí Dios premiará la pureza de corazón. mujer, y aun doble, al pretextar que se la llevaba al juez, pues este ¡no iba a esperarla en un granero! Por mucho tiempo que durase el interrogatorio, la escalera de madera no aclaraba nada mujer, servida en su escritorio. mujer, un poco antes.
Generative poem example 3. Image credit: Tamara Moura Costa.

The entire project calls on society to question the use of the words chosen to express themselves, understanding the power they have to hurt. Language is not trivial, we use words as a form of construction of meaning and reality.

This work enables us to think in a different and updated way about the content of these texts and, this view is immersed in a context where feminist movements fight for their rights.

Amid a crowded demonstration a woman raises a poster above the heads of the crowd. The text reads:
Feminist manifestations in Buenos Aires taken in 2018-2020. Image credit: Tamara Moura Costa.
A blonde woman with her face painted green, wearing the green scarf that represents the feminist movement in Argentina in favor of the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy proposal law is at the center and foreground of the image. There is a feminist demonstration behind her; a crowd of people, gathered at the National Congress square. In the background, the National Congress Library, a large building with many windows, is lit by sunlight.
Feminist manifestations in Buenos Aires taken in 2018-2020. Image credit: Tamara Moura Costa.

Q&A

What is the context or background that inspired your recipe?

Specifically, in Argentina in 2018, time and place where this Project is born, the project of Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy in Deputies and Senators was voted, without obtaining favorable results for feminist movements. Later in 2019, this law is enacted, and feminist movements can continue to fight for their rights.

Which community are you offering the recipe to?

I’m offering this recipe to the Feminist, BIPOC and LGTBQ+ communities, also to any community who is interested in making visible suffering from systematic repressions that they suffer.

How does your submission relate to intersectional feminism?

The political strategies that were used for the subtraction of the phrases of the texts of Borges and Kafka, come from the gender theory and feminism, from the ideological constructions naturalized by the patriarchal system and that have been reconsidered lately.

The purpose of this work is to make a complaint, through a literary piece, about the elaborated and intentional image that male writers made towards women.

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