Caterina Davinio

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Caterina Davinio, 1990

Caterina Davinio (born November 25, 1957, Foggia) is an Italian poet, novelist and new media artist. Author of digital art, net.art, video art. She was the creator of Italian Net-poetry in 1998.

Quotes[edit]

Virtual Mercury House. Planetary & Interplanetary Events[edit]

  • The biosphere is now enriched with an other stratum, mid-way between the material and the spiritual, and that is the web of connections, a “virtual” reality made of communication by means of the new media. On a daily basis, we move around in this space with all the content we are capable of. This physically concretizes the concept that all humans can merge in a single moment, where no one is separated from the others and all become a single entity, which is the web.
    • p. 44
  • Making art means not only using languages, but also creating new ones. To do this, new tools are indispensable. Even returning to more traditional languages such as linear poetry or narration, after being enriched by the experience of hypertext, hypermedia and multimedia, allows us to rethink the older forms of expression and transfer the lessons of the new media into even the more traditional modalities of language, such as narrative, for example.
    • p. 48
  • If language is a virus from space, even people could be disguised aliens on our planet, because language is inextricably bound to human mental processes, in the forms of our intelligence, to the extent that symbolic language is what makes us different from other living beings.
    • p. 48
  • Language completes the existence of the world and makes it "usable" for humans.
    • p. 48
  • When I speak of language, I do not only mean poetic or verbal language: I am thinking of the language of mathematics, of physics, et cetera. It is a fascinating topic. Language is an interface between us and the world. Beyond language there is nothing but pure mystical contemplation of the universe.
    • p. 48
  • E-literature is certainly a broader concept than e-poetry, but it can also be limiting: like Verlaine in a famous line from his Art Poétique, one might conclude: et tout le reste est e-littérature, to emphasize the imponderable specificity of poetry.
    • p. 128
  • Now that everything is, or may be, "digital" and could contemplate its membership in an e-category, the final product should be always studied, not only in its appearance, but in its process, structure, in its modes of functioning and of presentation / fruition and also in an historical perspective.
    • p. 130
  • A central concept called into question by net-poetry is the relation with reality. Does it make sense to define "virtual" reality as what actually reaches us through the Internet? How the artist relates to it, how he or she perceives and represents it and how a net-poet should "sing" it? The relationship with reality mediated by the Internet is a network of contacts in itself, it is ontologically a "connective" image of reality, which gradually outlines and qualify itself, both as reality and as representation.
    • p. 132
  • Intelligence is always connective. The biosphere works this way, through continuous contacts, catalysts, neurons which touch and activate other neurons. Today, this all has not only biological and chemical consistency, but a technological and teleinformatics one: it is not just a metaphor, or a "virtual" reality, but a real entity, a kind of emanation of the biosphere.
    • p. 138

Poems[edit]

Serial Phenomenologies[edit]

  • Day after day
    I turn on the machines,
    I dispense their immense memory,
    every day
    I fire up the motors,
    then inside I switch myself off.
    ...
    • From: Caterina Davinio, Fenomenologie seriali / Serial Phenomenologies, with parallel English text, English translation by Caterina Davinio and David W. Seaman, Campanotto, Pasian di Prato (UD) 2010, p. 73.

Waiting for the End of the World[edit]

  • Destiny was superb
    it spoke among mountains and gray cumuli
    like castles in the sky,
    swollen with heat,
    with rain,
    with harvests,
    with infinite richness.
    • From: Caterina Davinio, Aspettando la fine del mondo / Waiting for the End of the World, with parallel English text, English translation by Caterina Davinio and David W. Seaman, Fermenti, Rome 2012, p. 15. </ref>
  • I am ashamed of the polished words,
    so I hide them
    throwing rough and crude notes
    like the Rondanini Pietà
    still raw with matter
    on the lines of crystal
    like the soul that sparkles in one’s eyes.
    ...
    • From: Caterina Davinio, Aspettando la fine del mondo / Waiting for the End of the World, with parallel English text, English translation by Caterina Davinio and David W. Seaman, Fermenti, Rome 2012, p. 61. </ref>

The Book of Opium (1975 - 1990)[edit]

(Heroin) P. G.'s Basement[edit]

  • And I go down the stairs again
    with the screeching of my worn out
    soul

    P. G. tunes instruments
    for his golden arm
    alchemy in a metropolitan shell

    The squeak of time was
    thrown back into the cracks
    where the plaster has the form of a twisting branch

    and my veins are sturdy trunks,
    scaly, for drops of green sap
    nourishment rising
    from the bowels of the earth,
    • From: Caterina Davinio, Il libro dell'oppio 1975 – 1990 (The Book of Opium 1975 – 1990), Puntoacapo Editrice, Novi Ligure 2012. English translation by Caterina Davinio and David W. Seaman.

Overdose[edit]

  • The head tumbles between the legs
    like a wooden ball
    you fall, dark night
    in the eyes,
    the door a span away
    inaccessible
    you are on your knees
    ...
    • From: Caterina Davinio, Il libro dell'oppio 1975 – 1990] (The Book of Opium 1975 – 1990), Puntoacapo Editrice, Novi Ligure 2012. English translation by Caterina Davinio and David W. Seaman.</ref>

Aliens on Safari[edit]

Africa[edit]

  • Only our voices
    and gray strips of palm
    like shining backs 
    of coleoptera,
    atrocious
    and suffering
    under the infinite sun;
    • From: Caterina Davinio, Aliens on Safari (Light from Hell), in AAVV, Dentro il mutamento, Rome, Fermenti, 2011. English translation by Caterina Davinio and David W. Seaman.

About Caterina Davinio[edit]

  • «Sharp poetry, essential, cutting, between irony and tragedy, with lightning flashes of desperation and piety, of memory and anguish. It has a painful and lost grandeur» (Giorgio Bàrberi Squarotti)[1]
  • «It is the poetry of Rimbaud removed from the soot of the history of literature» (Paolo Mantioni about Il libro dell'oppio / The Book of Opium)[2]
  • «“White / tells my story.” In my humble opinion, this is the couplet that “epitomizes” the work, which is miraculously saved from the devil, by the artist Caterina Davinio […] Indeed, the protagonist of the vital scenes is heroin. […] Davinio’s language is fast and cutting, cut by the broken bottles in the street.» (Nunzio Festa about Il libro dell'oppio / The Book of Opium)[4]
  • «Reading Caterina Davinio’s Waiting for the End of the World, one is reminded of so many writers taking on the task of speaking for a desperate people – Léopold Sédar Senghor, whose conflated “Black Woman” and Africa make his mouth lyrical, Aimé Césaire, in his “Notebook of a Return to the Native Land,” accepting and speaking for his people in all their ugliness and suffering. But Caterina’s poet is not speaking of her own land: in this double poem anchored in Africa and India, she seems to take on the burden of the former British Empire. That is why T.S. Eliot came to mind, if not also Rudyard Kipling and in a sad way, Ernest Hemingway» (David W. Seaman about Waiting for the End of the World)[5]
  • «Nevertheless it is about themes endowed with depth, rather uncomfortable in a culture that often seeks from poetry almost a consolation or at least a reconciliation with the world. Davinio’s poetry is instead problematic, not at all conciliatory or reconciled. Caterina develops her themes in a vibrant language, dry and almost essential, taut and antirhetorical» (Gianmario Lucini)[6]
  • «This collection of poems by Caterina Davinio […] rewards the reader with fascinating lines and jarring phrases that bring fresh and dangerous enjoyment to the practice. Be alert, all who enter here» (David W. Seaman about Serial Phenomenologies)[7]
  • «There are moments when Caterina is Duchampian with the digital medium, as in “UFOp (Unidentified Flying Objects Poetry)” (1999) and in “Poem in Red” (2004). You can think of Davinio’s work as something resembling the imagination without wires and the Words in Freedom, the second phase of the Italian Futurism (from 1909 to 1914), because she retrieves this technique and applies it in the digital realization of her videopoems, net poetry, in the structure of Karenina.it» (Jorge Luiz Antonio about Davinio's video and net-art) [8]

 

External links[edit]

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  1. In Caterina Davinio, Aspettando la fine del mondo / Waiting for the End of the World, Fermenti, Rome 2012
  2. In Caterina Davinio, Aspettando la fine del mondo / Waiting for the End of the World, Fermenti, Rome 2012
  3. rhizome.org
  4. In Caterina Davinio, Aspettando la fine del mondo / Waiting for the End of the World, Fermenti, Rome 2012
  5. In Caterina Davinio, Aspettando la fine del mondo / Waiting for the End of the World, Fermenti, Rome 2012
  6. In Caterina Davinio, Aspettando la fine del mondo / Waiting for the End of the World, Fermenti, Rome 2012
  7. In Caterina Davinio, Fenomenologie seriali / Serial Phenomenologies, Campanotto, Pasian di Prato (UD) 2010
  8. In Caterina Davinio, Aspettando la fine del mondo / Waiting for the End of the World, Fermenti, Rome 2012