An unpredictable novel
It might be only by the virtue of metaphors that I speak in a conference about the chaos theory : I'm not a mathematician and my personnal use of chaos, fractals, non linear models and complexity concepts is certainly incorrect. You try to analyze our world, I'm trying to create one world among a multitude of possible ones. The best would be for me to explain what I try to create and show my work.
I like the infinity of shapes in regard to the multiplicity of things. What concerns me, is the infinite !... Not duration, eternity; but the inexhaustible : infinite.
The infinite of creation : infinite in litterature. And, for that reason, the new possibilities that computering offers to litterature.
First chapter : one purpose
The litterature I like is a litterature which refuses stability, which does not close up the time of its narratives in one unique line, but allows an infinite of them. That is what I call a chaotic, non-deterministic litterature, as opposed to a teleonomical litterature, oriented to an unique aim and in which each fragment depends directly on that unique aim.
To illustrate that affirmation, I have prepared for you a generator of novel in english. This generator is poor, because its english dictionnary is poor, I apologize for that but all my other exemples will be in french...
As it is easier to speak about well known things than about unknown ones, I will first define this litterary approach only by negatives proposals :
— it is not a random litterature; or if there are some random aspects in it, it is only because "the instability of non-random dynamic leads to the appearing of random" (Y.G. Sinaï)
— its texts cannot be read two times in the same way
— its texts cannot be memorised
— its texts cannot be studied : no princeps-editions, no various readings, no manuscripts
— its texts have no memory or, more exactly, if they have one, their memory is really different from that we are accustomed with
— preserving its texts has no sense.
The artiste always fight the chaos.
In the traditional view of litterature, he tries to master it by maping one line, something like an algorithm between some of the spots which set it up : litterature is deterministic... I use to say : fractal. But that is another subject...
With the computer, litterature can work the chaos in the way of chaos itself : taming the order of disorder. Making of litterature a written work where causes, seeming to be originally independent, mix their effects to built a totally new meaning.
A litterature which is sensitive to contexts, to its lecture's media, to its lecture's time, not closed in the fixity of a written apparatus : a really interactive litterature...
Let us speak about theory, just some theory...
I think that there is a difference between meaning and coherence. Meaning is related to the real world and to this world's actions. Meaning also needs coherence but coherence does not need meaning. For instance a discussion in the real world has to be coherent and mean something, that is to be congruent with the context where this conversation takes place; a conversation in a fiction has only to be coherent because its meaning is created in one possible world among others.
So I can define a fiction as a coherent trajectory drawn into a space of available "informations".
In the "fractal" litterature, the writer thinks that there is only one trajectory and all his work is to avoid all possible deviation — or more likely to make believe that he acts so.
In the litterature I want to produce, I let the generator lay down its own trajectory and, eventually, all the trajectories it may lay down while crossing the space of "informations".
What these informations are is not really important. Imagine that they are crumbs of something which may have a meaning. For instance : "crash|es", or "fur|s", or "the bulk of the central ridge", or "[1|m_bulk] [7|a_central¶m_ridge]", or anything that may be registered in the space of informations datas and that respects the rules of the program.
All these informations registered in the space of a novel constitute an incoherent space of meaning. If analysed in terms of coherence, something like a space of unstable coherence.
To generate in this space means to find one possible trajectory between all the informations.
The result produces the text :
"8 - 15 - 20 - 13 - 2 - 9 - 4 - 11 - 16 - 17 - 22 - 29"
The trajectory is always influenced by the information from which it starts and by the state of the information it reaches.
Third chapter : technology
These generators are based on what I call a semantical grammar.
Each time a data is choosen, there is a probabilty of choices which depends on :
— the number of data available in the data base corresponding to the node of the graph being expanded
— the state of the text's memory
— the contextextual representation of the data
It is why I call this model of litterature a "chaotic litterature" : we start from an unstable space where they are some probabilities of coherence but, once a trajectory begins, it is impossible to predict exactly where it ends though all the trajectories are coherent ones.
And, as the reader projects the text in the coherence of his world and keeps it in his memory, there is no possibility of reversibility : once a first text is written all the other texts are read through it, even if two readers will read to different texts of the same novel.
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