Tuesday, July 18, 2017

CRWR 520 (4)

A collaboration that begins with entering the word (collaboration) into a computer search engine so ubiquitous (Google) as to transcend its function (search engine) and provide that which is shown below (though reformatted):


the action of working with someone to produce or create something.
"he wrote on art and architecture in collaboration with John Betjeman"

traitorous cooperation with an enemy.
"he faces charges of collaboration"

I am familiar with the first example -- working with someone to make a book -- but the second example feels pejorative. Could not “the action of working with someone” in a “traitorous" capacity be better expressed in a word like conspiracy? Bad enough that the world has for so long looked down on literary collaboration as a transgression of the romantic notion of singular genius than to find it maligned through its “cooperation with an enemy.” Is this the market talking, where the preferred form of literary authorship -- or indeed of authority in general -- privileges the one above the many?

But returning to the first definition: Is it necessary that “the action of working with someone” has that "someone" limited to another human being?

Scholars from Oglala Sioux theologian Vine Deloria, Jr. to Secwepemc artist Tania Willard have written and spoken of the land as a sentient being -- a parent, a teacher, a collaborative agent able to “produce or create something.” I suppose the same could be applied to that artificially intelligent landscape known as the internet, which in the early 21st century gave us poems "mined" from unusual word pairings entered into search engines. The name given to this style of poetry is flarf. The  name given to stories born from the land varies from community to community, but among the Syilx-speaking people of the Okanagan they are known as captikwl.

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