my Dear coUntess: a Letter to Lord Kelvin

“My dear coUntess […] reconstructs a letter to Lord Kelvin, the British physicist, by replacing each word with a counterpart from any of a dozen arbitrarily chosen texts by authors including Gertrude Stein and Jack Smith. The origins of the replacement words are marked by color and a hyperlink that opens the full source text in a new window. Words from the original letter and those of Snelson’s appended texts are paired by difference as often as similarity — a linguistic game that readers can follow by shifting their gaze between the old and new letters (the original is left on the page, like in a bilingual edition). The pace of reading is quickened by the accompanying video of Snelson’s Sprechstimme performance of his version; he intones each word at a color-coded pitch while dressed in a costume assembled from found materials of the corresponding color. Couched in Snelson’s labyrinthine hack of Blogspot presets, the protracted clashes of nineteenth-century science and twentieth-century literature, of synaesthesia and logocentrism, enact the schizophrenia of search-engine intertextuality based on little more than lexical units.”

my Dear coUntess, a Letter to Lord Kelvin (2007)

Costumes by Phoebe Springstubb

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