Computational Linguistics for Literature

Invited talks

Language-Art Digital Poetics: An exploration of digital textualities in the production of artistic research

María Mencía
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Kingston University



As an academic and an artist my practice-based research is at the intersection of language, art and digital technology. It explores the area of the in-between, the visual, the aural and the semantic. I am always interested in experimenting with the digital medium with the aim of engaging the reader/viewer/user in an experience of shifting ‘in’ and ‘out’ of language. This involves looking ‘at’ and looking ‘through’ transparent and abstract textualities and linguistic soundscapes. It draws from avant-garde poetics remediating concepts of reading and writing, exploring digital media grammars (voice activation, use of webcam, use of mouse, acts of revealing, triggering, cut and paste, dragging) for interactivity, aesthetics, engagement and meaning production. It is trans-disciplinary, bringing together different cultural, artistic and literary traditions such as: linguistics, fine art, visual, concrete and sound poetry, with digital poetics, electronic writing, and new media art theories and practices.

María Mencía is an artist-researcher and Senior Lecturer in New Media Theory and Digital Media Practice in the School of Performance and Screen Studies at Kingston University, UK. She holds a PhD in Digital Poetics and Digital Art by the University of the Arts, London. She studied English Philology at the Complutense University in Madrid, Fine Art and History and Theory of Art at the University of the Arts London.

Mencía’s practice-based research in language, art and technology draws from different cultural, social, artistic and literary traditions such as: linguistics, fine art, film, visual, concrete and sound poetry, with digital poetics, electronic writing, and new media art theories and practices. Her practice includes interactive installations, performances,, soundgenerated poems and interactive generative narratives.

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heureCLÉA or the computational triangulation of Narrative: Narratology meets Machine Learning

Jan Christoph Meister
Department of Languages, Literatures and Media
Faculty of Arts
University of Hamburg



Narration and narratives – i.e.: the human practice of exchanging information via narratively encoded symbolic representation as well as its resulting artifacts – are ubiquitous and not restricted to the experiential domains of fiction or every day story-telling, as the so-called ‘narrative turn’ has demonstrated across scientific disciplines. However, in most societies narrative is at the same time heavily invested with psychological as well as aesthetic expectations. The inevitable criticism faced by most formal approaches toward narrative is therefore that they must resort to highly domain specific corpora and simplistic conceptualizations of narrative for methodological reasons. And so from a hermeneutical and philological point of view it seems as if any formalization of narrative – and particularly a computational one – will necessarily go hand in hand with its trivialization.

In my paper I would like to present an interdisciplinary approach toward narrative and narration that might help us to overcome the need to disambiguate and thus trivialize narrative in order to allow for its successful formalization. This approach is, in a metaphorical sense, ‘triangulative’ in that it combines three methodological perspectives onto the phenomenon of narratively encoded symbolic representation: the formalist of structuralist narratology, the hermeneutic of collaborative text interpretation, and the statistical of computational machine learning. In combination these three approaches form the conceptual basis for a project which aims to develop a computational heuristics of narrative from human collaborative effort in literature annotation and exploration: heureCLÉA.       

Jan Christoph Meister, a Professor of German Literature at the University of Hamburg, specializes in Narratology and Digital Humanities. He has published on narratological theory, humanities computing and various German authors, including Goethe, Gustav Meyrink and Leo Perutz. He is the director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Narratology at the University of Hamburg and the Chairperson of the European Association for Digital Humanities, as well as of the German association DHd (Digital Humanities in the German speaking regions).

See for more details.