Den Vita Jorden

December 23, 2008

I bought Lotta Lotass’s new book Den Vita Jorden (2007) a few weeks ago.  In fact, I thought I blogged about it already but I just looked back through the last month’s entries and didn’t see anything.  So.  Anyway.  The title roughly translates as The White Earth and while I don’t speak Swedish I was attracted to the book because of its unusual structure and – when I learned what it was about – the intention behind its creation.  It’s presented in a white cardboard box – with an open (and closeable) flap on one side.  The title appears in black and red block letters on the front of the box and there’s a simple illustration of a large-scale or close-up map in the background.  The map is drawn in black ink on the white cardboard background.  Water is implied with a light blue wash.  The “book” itself is a series of stapled pamphlets and loose leaves of paper.  There is no particular order, no page numbers.  This is a description of the book in Swedish followed by a rough translation in English:

Lotta Lotass nya bok är en samling olika långa texter om vetenskapliga upptäckter, industriella ansträngninger och ödesdigra drifter av obestämt utopiskt, möjligen även megalomaniskt slag.  Texterna, som levereras i en ask, saknar given ordning.  Varje läsare ordnar själv sina 148 texter.  Ingen läsning blir den andra lik.  Detta iscensatta attentat mot romanens kronologi och krav på riktning är inte enbart ett romantekniskt experiment utan även ett försök att formen – oordning – upphäva romanhandlingens krav på total ordning.

Lotta Lotass new book is a collection of long texts on scientific discoveries, industrial efforts and fateful loads of indeterminate utopian, possibly including megalomaniskt* nature. The text, delivered in a box, lacks specific order. Each reader will arrange its own 148 texts. No reading is the same as another. This orchestrated attack on the novel’s chronology and required direction is not only a technical experiment but also an attempt to shape – disorganization – repeal roman document requirements on the total order.

I brought the book to the first meeting of my Electronic Literature workshop/discussion last week.  I’ve been reflecting on how new technologies – the internet – e publishing, etc., have influenced print culture – as well as the other way around….

* I couldn’t find an adequate translation of that word so I left it as is.

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