Poetic web: unfolding spiral


Polinsski(b. 1996, Moscow), an artist and designer, currently writing her Bachelor's thesis in Klasse Digitale-Grafik. Re-searching poetic web, she looks for 'computer-feeling'—focusing on the subjective, intimate experiences with computing devices, seeking a deeper sense of possibility and excessiveness.

The interview happened on a rainy Monday in Athens, Greece;
when the rain sounded like this:

Inter-viewer: where are we right now?

Polinsski: we are located in the introduction part of my Bachelor's thesis about poetic web.

Inter-viewer: why did you choose an interview as format for introduction?

Polinsski: recently, about a concept called question-path, which captures a feeling that guides me while writing. It is about asking questions and giving them time to unfold. A feeling of focused curiosity. i got curious what happens if i collect some of the questions in a form of an interview.

Inter-viewer: so in a way question-asking is your research method?

Polinsski: something like that. Though calling it a 'research method' sounds very serious. I try to write with lightweight feeling.

Inter-viewer: your approach is more experimental?

Polinsski: Right. Another significant concept that has guided me is the notion of playscape. Coming back to your first question about our location. We are situated in my playscape.

Inter-viewer: words seem to be important to you?

Polinsski: words can help make intangible thoughts recognizable to human consciousness. once i have a thought that i can put into the form of words, i can share it with you.

Inter-viewer: words are quite powerful.

Polinsski: they are, as long as people believe in them.

Inter-viewer: is there something that you can not share with words?

Polinsski: Sometimes i struggle with people (me including) taking words too literally. Words can help to go deeper into certain things, but you can also trap yourself with words.

Inter-viewer: when you feel trapped by words, what do you do?

Polinsski: i tune into my feeling.

Inter-viewer: feeling becomes a way of navigating?

Polinsski: i wish i could describe it better in words [laughing]. it is another mode of searching. If an idea would have a life-cycle i would say: first it manifests as rather abstract feeling, Guided by that feeling you go on search for a form that the feeling can be born into. Once you find a matching shape–the magic happens.

Inter-viewer: how do you search for a matching shape?

Polinsski: mostly, by doing . though i think there are many ways. and there are times where not doing is even more important.

Inter-viewer: by not doing, you mean realizing what's already there?

Polinsski: yes, being present. [laughs] it's not easy.

Inter-viewer: like focusing on breathing?

Polinsski: like breathing in your own rhythm.

Inter-viewer: so, you write about poetic web; how did you come to this topic?

Polinsski: One version of the story unfolds as follows: I happened to study at Klasse Digitale Grafik, where we spend lots of time talking about the web. Gradually, I began to question the way I was spending time online, especially the considerable time and energy I devoted to social media, which ultimately left me feeling dissatisfied. It took a while for me to come to this realization. Then, in 2020, I was introduced to are.na, where i encountered strange-looking handmade websites, which made me feel curious. Reminded me the magic feeling of the web i had in early 2000s. I pursued that feeling and it led me to poetic web.

Inter-viewer: what is it about?

Polinsski: you know, one of the first are.na channels i dedicated to collecting stone images. One of my favorite stone-images i have there - is one by George Brecht. He carved the word "void" onto the stone. It gives me this ambiguous sense of density and emptiness. I think it's the same with poetic web.

Inter-viewer: it avoids the definition?

Polinsski: in a way, definition is not the point. in a dictionary sense. there can be as many definitions of poetic web as stone shapes, and each one of them valuable.

Inter-viewer: how do you define poetic web for yourself?

Polinsski: currently, i try to arrange words in a way that they make sense to me, so i could define it as space for meaning-making.

Inter-viewer: why orange text and brown background?

Polinsski: i am experimenting with shapes of web-references. this colors are design-quote from How to Fall Down a Rabbit Hole, which inspired this interview you're currently reading. However, I recently noticed that the website's colors have changed. Nonetheless, I decided to retain the original colors from the moment of my discovery, as a tribute to that memory.

Inter-viewer: you view colors/look as inseparable part of the web text?

Polinsski: colors, shapes, sounds are the feeling of a text or website, they are what makes a text into a living document or web being. Just as seasons transition, the colors of web being have changed.

Inter-viewer: web beings are impermanent?

Polinsski: its beauty is fleeting. they are fragile. they live, they change, they break, they disappear, often unnoticed.

Inter-viewer: is design-citation a way of cherishing a special moment you had while reading the text?

Polinsski: right, you might view it as a worshiping practice.

Inter-viewer: do you think of yourself as a designer?

Polinsski: if design is a way of asking questions. i recently saved this quote to my are.na and just in a few days many people connected to this idea. This response gave me a sense of hope.

Inter-viewer: are.na sometimes feels like a conversation, isn't it?

Polinsski: totally, I sometimes envision Are.na as a reincarnation of those 20th-century cafés where artists, poets, thinkers, and other creative individuals would gather. There, they discussed the latest books they'd read, shared their deepest thoughts, or simply enjoyed each other's company.

Inter-viewer: it feels different to social media?

Polinsski: It offers a better glimpse into what people truly think about, what matters to them at the moment, and what their process entails. It reduces the pressure to perform, feeling more like a space for becoming rather than a platform for showcasing achievements.

Polinsski: it's almost impossible to have a conversation where every-body has to perform their perfectness all the time.

Inter-viewer: Do you ever aim for perfection, or is that not really your goal?

Polinsski: I try not to. Striving for perfection means aiming for a form that will no longer evolve. As long as I am alive, I want to enjoy the process.

Inter-viewer: what is the role of repitition?

Polinsski: in case of design-quoting repetition is a way of making it recognizable, tangible. repetition can also serve as a practice of unfolding.

Inter-viewer: unfolding spiral?

Polinsski: you always come over the same point where you have been before, but never really the same, it is above or below, inside, outside, so it means growth. i learned to love repetition as soon as i realized nothing can really be repeated.

Inter-viewer: is it still raining?

Polinsski: not anymore.