welcome to Augmented Reading

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Just a starting point. You shouldn’t fully trust the title. Not what it seems. You know it well: titles tend to be unfair, unfair to the overall content and misleading to people. Deceptive in both ways, whether enticements or turn-offs. Let’s just keep going.

Welcome to slowLiterature, an iterative trip from scattered atom-words to -somewhat- realised meaning.

Again, don’t think of ‘slow’ as necessarily slow and forget about the commonplaces ethically and aesthetically linked to it – just a title, a potentially misleading label like any other.

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The basic idea behind the “slowLiterature” series is quite straightforward. Take a short text or excerpt, something that you could actually read in a few minutes. Make it last longer, way longer than it should normally last. It’s not about slowing down your reading unnaturally but rather about iterating — creatively orbiting the text till its presumed meaning gets expanded and kind of blurred, sometimes deeply transformed, almost by ‘friction’ against your own gaze.

Welcome to augmented reading.

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We are rather used to devouring texts –best case scenario– or rushing them. This is probably what most of the texts nowadays are written for and deserve. If we were able to make our daily readings last a bit longer (by iteration, by stronger perceptual friction), the unexpected would actually show up fairly quickly. Sorry to say, in many cases, we would get to confront daily stupidity and ubiquitous semantic manipulation in quite unpleasant ways.

On the contrary, what about augmenting those really worth-stretching texts rather than just ‘devouring’ them? To a certain degree, traditional readers already know the sensation of slowly tasting their most beloved texts, reading and re-reading them on and on. What if we extend the range of possibilities around these awesomely pleasant states?

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We could say that slowLiterature is a semantic-stretching method placed in between learning and aesthetic enjoyment. In order to achieve that, we have developed a rich set of tools and cognitive techniques. The initial states of slowLiterature are presented as a series of widely accessible audiovisual pieces. As we said at the beginning, this is just a starting point.

We invite you to join us on this exciting, both functional and exploratory, highly evolutive trip. Take a closer look through the ways we all talk, write, perceive, understand and remember language.

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Let’s face it. Deep enjoyment almost never comes ‘free’ or effortless. It often demands active persuading — even a sort of talent that, to a certain extent, anyone could develop. We will push perception through softly, gradually increased complexity:

–multiple text streams and type-fonts
–different sizes, timings, orientations and degrees of readability
–increasing multiscreen density (a sort of ‘musical’ polyphony)
–memory inputs re-injected onto the current states
–strong presence of the aural dimension — deeply affecting your ability to confront words and meaning
–sound and visual cues freely associated to the current semantic states (3D soundscapes, sonograms, oscilloscopes, chaotic attractors, datasets as point drawings…)

Monday or Tuesday | Stage #5 | Micro-chapter 3

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Our roadmap takes its input from a series of carefully selected short texts or excerpts: classic, contemporary, established authors, emerging authors, minority authors, world wide authors, experimental AI-assisted writing, a wide variety of genres (and non-genres), English accents from all over the planet…

We look for texts that are rich enough to undergo a deep linguistic analysis — rich not just in concepts, but in sound, timing and context.

We go in-depth with at least two weeks on each text so that you can take your time, face the texts as joyful places to taste, explore, transform and be transformed.

Curious? Just put on headphones or earphones (so you can access 3D-audio), set the video quality to HD-1080p and listen+watch this first “L-iteration” as a small flavour of all this:

slowLiterature | Monday or Tuesday | L-iteration 101_518755680_701


And, by the way, what is a L-iteration? We’ll take the time to introduce this concept in further posts. For now, just enjoy it in action…


Originally published on medium.com in slowLiterature (May 30, 2017).