Gianni Toti’s poetronics in augmented reality (Interdisciplinary Italy (.org))

di Aron Greco, del 27 marzo 2018

La parola poesia è la prima poesia

Pensieri e immagini di Gianni Toti sulla poesia

Gianni Toti (Rome, 24 June 1924 – 8 January 2007) was the Italian poet, author, journalist, photographer and filmmaker who created ‘Poetronica’, a fusion of poetry and electronics. The poet demonstrated the potential of electronic language by writing, filming and mixing videopoetry. The vast range of material produced by Toti has been catalogued and made publicly available by La Casa Totiana. In accordance with Toti’s own principles, his works have also recently been translated into augmented reality. Inspired by Toti’s “Alice nel Paese delle Cartaviglie” – in Toti’s own words, “a mid-length film that launched a campaign about the crisis of paper and wonder”, digital startup Poetronicart and publisher Rubbettino have created a series of ‘cartaviglie’, texts with a related augmented reality experience accessed via an app. As a whole, the poetronic object resulting from this collaboration, La parola poesia è la prima poesia. Pensieri e immagini di Gianni Toti sulla poesia, comprises 6 ‘cartaviglie’, 11 infographic cards and 1 symbol. When used with the Layar app, the infographics enable augmented reality access to new multimedia content: they are animated onscreen with unpublished video interviews and extracts from poetronic works. Through the written words, we hear the echo of the poet’s words, we can read his poetry and access a digitized archive. Through augmented reality technology, the infographics literally animate Gianni Toti’s thoughts and the words come to life: a dream come true. Augmented reality makes it possible for visual perception to cross scattered worlds which are finally brought together onscreen. The infographics grant access to the artistic reconstruction of an imagination which envisaged a technology that had not yet been invented; a technology that today allows us finally to read and relive the poems and the poetic world of one of the greatest digital poets of the twentieth century. Poetry returns through a new technological medium – the smartphone or tablet that we carry around every day. The most significant innovation of the cartaviglie is that we have a new way to access poetry. When presenting this project last November Pia Abelli Toti, president of the Casa Totiana association, recalled Gianni’s words, “You must learn to see what your eyes do not see”. These words seem to best encapsulate the inspiration behind this latest elaboration of Toti’s work, which encourages us to broaden our sensory perceptions and underlines the parallel work of art and technological science as both possible, and necessary, for us to develop new lines of thinking. Such new modes of thought can allow us to live poetry – today more than ever abandoned in a temporal abyss – and through it, to reflect more broadly on language and its continual re-evolution. New languages have the potential to transform reality, as Toti has already taught us with electronics.