Levenshtein Distance reads Cortázar

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Creation for the online exhibition #ÁGORA / CEMENTO / CÓDIGO, organised by LEKUTAN Cultural Association in the International Center for Contemporary Art Tabakalera in Donostia/San Sebastián.

Levenshtein Distance reads Cortázar was launched on 8th February 2021. It is a first version of a first book of the publishing house ‘Algoliterary Publishing: making kin with trees’. In June 2021, during a residency at Medialab Prado in Madrid, Anaïs Berck will develop a prototype of this Algoliterary Publishing House, in which algorithms are the authors of unusual books. The residency was granted by the “Digital Culture Residency” programme initiated by the Flemish Government.

In this publishing house the authors will be algorithms, presented with their contexts and codes; and the books will present the narrative point of view of the algorithm. By putting the tree and its representations at the center of their works, and by welcoming algorithms not at the service of extracting resources or value towards a commercial objective, but for making kin with nature, these intelligences create narratives which speak about trees and also challenge colonial views of classification, methods of standardization, and might speak critically about the effects of dominant cultures. While doing so, they put trees at the center of the creation, and therefore decenter the perspective of the human being.

The author of this book is the algorithm Levenhstein Distance, the subject is the eucalyptus tree in “Fama y eucalipto”, an excerpt from Historias de Cronopios y de Famas by Julio Cortázar.

The printrun of the book is by definition infinite and each copy is unique.

In this work Anaïs Berck is represented by:

  • the algorithm Levenshtein Distance
  • the eucaliptus tree in Historias de Cronopios y Famas by Julio Cortázar, published in 1962 by Editorial Minotauro
  • the human beings An Mertens and Gijs de Heij