Video / 6 March 2022

About LEI

Brave New Literatures Festival

}{ What

LEI – Letteratura Elettronica Italia (Electronic Literature Italy) is the first Italian community dedicated to electronicliterature.

}{ Who & When

LEI was born in September 2021 following a discussion I had with the writer Fabrizio Venerandi and the professors Paola Carbone and Laura Santini. Subsequently, professor Lisa Somma and phd student Daniele Giampà took part in the group.

}{ Core values

If you take a look at the Manifesto you'll notice that LEI's identity is based on 3 main characteristics

# 1 INDEPENDENCE

LEI does not fall within any kind of institutional framework: it is not an organization, it is not an institution, it has no sponsors, it is not linked to any university. LEI is first and foremost a set of people. LEI is not a for-profit business. Anyproceeds will only be used to support LEI activities.

# 2 INFORMALITY

In general, but especially in Italy, literature is confined to the confined spaces of groups founded on values such as closure, exclusivity, hierarchy, ownership. It is clear to everyone that this type of approach causes damage to people (researchers, professors, artists frustrated, stressed, depressed), and to the things they say they love. In fact, this approach contributes to spreading the perception that literature is something unattainable, in the double meaning of being a prerogative of a few insiders and of an abstract phenomenon, that is to say completely disconnected from real life, from everyday problems to major political, social and economic issues.

LEI contrasts this approach with an opposite one, based on values such as openness, sharing, the absence of hierarchies, collaboration, inclusiveness. The goal is to create an informal, relaxed and pleasant atmosphere in order to stimulate the spontaneous and genuine explosion of the critical and creative potential of the participants, who will finally be able to express themselves through the methods that suited them best.

#3 LIQUIDNESS

Considering its main source of interest, LEI would betray itself whether it were static, rigid, based on traditional media models, or if it used digital media uncritically and "spectacularly". Quoting Mark Amerika, "We will sample from anything we need". Quoting LEI's Manifesto, "we see every space as writing space": we believe that there are no platforms/software/hardware/contexts in which e-lit cannot plant and sprout up. This is why we set no limits. We are currently on more traditional and "mainstream" channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, Discord, Youtube, website), but our goal is to experiment with all the formulas we can imagine among virtual (from podcasts to live onTwitch), physical (from live coding to ARGs) and the combinations between the two.

}{ Why

Even if something has already come to light, it might be useful to summarize here some of the main reasons behind thebirth of LEI.

LEI as an aggregator

There is no space dedicated to electronic literature in Italy. There are many realities, that's true; some are very active and rooted (one above all: the community dedicated to text adventures), but these are islands. One of LEI's main aim is to disseminate the contents generated by these realities. In this way, on the one hand we support existing realities, on theother hand we put them in dialogue with other realities since we place them in a broader context, such as that of LEI. Essentially, LEI would act as an aggregator, not a hierarchical and closed aggregator, but a rhizomatic and open one. Inother words, it is a question of forming a network of people, communities, initiatives, topics.

LEI as a trigger

Among the many advantages of the network model is that of being able to visualize the nodes. If LEI noted the lack of a specific node (for example, there are no Italian realities dedicated to Hypertext Fiction or they exist, but they did not cover a specific topic that interests the community), LEI would fill that void, creating the contents itself or stimulating their fulfillment through the creation of dedicated events and initiatives.

LEI as a curator

At the heart of LEI is the will to take care of what is important to LEI.

For this reason we recognize the urgency of initiatives, intended as permanent laboratories, dedicated to the conservation and translation of Italian electronic-literary works. Among other things, such initiatives could contribute to the training of new generations of critics and creatives, of which Italy is in dire need.

LEI as a choice

Quoting Solid Snake, “Building the Future and Keeping the Past Alive Are One and the Same Thing”. Likewise, dialoguing with the international context helps to better confront the Italian heritage. This is an important aspect which deserves to be emphasized. despite the scarcity of Italian works in the main anthologies of the field, Italian electronic literature is not to be constructed ex novo, but it already exists and is indeed rich, heterogeneous and in advanced manyways.

The hope behind the birth of LEI is precisely this: that there may be an alternative to the current approach so that what (little) has already been discovered and what (very much) is yet to be discovered could be cured by a free, open community of people through a horizontal and informal discussion. For now, this is only a hope. The hope is that itcould turn into a choice.

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