Omitted Texts, Overwritten Codes and E-rased Works: A Cutback
by Tilde Acuña
Three years may be too short a time since my first venture into erasure, but I think it merits introspection as much has changed in my manner of engagement. In 2011, “eraserase002” was published in Under the Storm: Anthology of Contemporary Philippine Poetry. Admittedly, I responded to the call for submissions with drafts that I consider in-progress, since editors Khavn dela Cruz and Joel Toledo say they look for “wasak” poems.
In 2012, a set with the aforementioned work came out in the erasures anthology but the words get in the way, assembled by Adam David. I thought I made a naïve mistake by erasing Brecht, but on hindsight, I re-think and re-consider that the project somewhat puts into practice his verfremdungseffekt. Only, it does not and I am making excuses for youthful forays I enjoyed.
Kritika Kultura No. 23 includes “Madrid 1884” and “Tondo 1892,” collaborative works with Dennis Aguinaldo. Preceding the aforesaid sets are entries in a picture dictionary, a larger work-in-progress with Aguinaldo: “bookworm two,” “flog two” and “workhorse two,” published in the online journal transit. The “eraserase” set and these recent works differ in execution, as the latter makes use of webpages as source text and of digitally rendered drawings as liquid paper (whiteout) or pentel pen (black out).
Finally, a project—building on insights from previous ones—attempts to enact violence on something I deem violent. In Nihil Vers: ode to deCo, I censor a document that aims to censor expression and suppress basic rights, in the fashion of industrial band Laibach's strategy that Zizek calls “over-identification,” which exaggerates dominant ideologies as a means of exposition.
Thus, my practice of obliterating texts evolved from an ekphrastic, quasi-artistic play; to a collaborative reflection on layers of meaning-making; and finally to a critical interrogation and outright mockery of ridiculously repressive policies, censored and pushed to its extremes through defacement via erasure.