A Story as You Like It

Re-writing narratives

NĂ¡dia Carmo

Abstract

Raymond Queneau’s theorem “Between two words in a sentence, there is an infinity of others” serves as the motto for this project, which aims to create new narratives from fragments of literary works. The construction of these stories seeks to accommodate the experimental character of potential literature as developed by the Oulipo group. Through processes of combination and recombination of literary units, it seeks to generate an infinite number of textual and semantic possibilities.

 

A Story as You Like It is based on one of Queneau’s experimental works, in which the reader is impelled to follow instructions to give continuity to the narrative. Assuming this experimental character, the project develops as writing platform where the reader/user is allowed to appropriate preexisting texts and recreate narratives according to an algorithmic method, which consists of executing a set of instructions that accompany each fragment of text.

 

The texts are composed of phrases taken from literary works that, directly or indirectly, deal with procedural thinking applied to literature. The excerpts relate to key moments of each work, suggesting its basic narrative elements, such as plot, space, time. Variables such as names, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, are identified in each text and grammar-textual instructions are defined, according to which the reader can act on the text.

 

This form of experimental writing, simultaneously fragmented and abstract, emphasises the semantic multiplicity and narrative elasticity of the text. This process of formalisation of ideas seeks to open space for imagination and creativity, as a form of reading through the writing of a story as we imagine it.

the web

post-digital publishing
algorithmic writing
combinatorics
non-linearity
multi-narratives