Attending this event?
For full details about the conference, please visit hastac2023.org
Back To Schedule
Saturday, June 10 • 11:15am - 12:15pm
{frst rvlt} -- in which is fashioned an anatomy of the first rebellion in *the americas* (a readation/performation)

Log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

{frst rvlt}
a readation/performation
Amir Parsa, with Maria Baker, Betty Etheredge, Janett Parra
HASTAC Conference 2023
(Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York)

In December 1521, the first revolt launched by enslaved people against their European captors took place in the Americas, on the plantation of Diego Colón, son of Christopher, in what is now the Dominican Republic. This rebellion was met with force by the Spanish colonialists, generating sweeping new racist laws and an age of terror. Very little has been written about this momentous occasion. It has gone largely ignored and minimally mentioned in historical narratives as well as other media and studies. The {frst rvlt} diptych constitutes an attempt at ‘writing’ the narrative. Rendering the episode. All about: how you write it. How do we write it. How do we deal with it. How do we reckon with it. How. Do. We. Write. It.

{frst rvlt}, in which is fashioned an anatomy of the first rebellion in the *americas*--on the occasion of its quinto centenario, is a “manic embodied pluridisciplinary reckoning”. It is a genre-redefining piece that engages critically with the sordid history of colonialism by focusing intensely and extensively on one very limited episode to decipher, delineate, and render–through theoretical, poetic and performative ways–the destruction of lives and lands, along with the repercussions of the construction of identity frameworks, the justification for horrendous acts, and the implementation of indubitably racist laws. Founded on close examination of texts and scholarly investigations, and by continuous work on the ground in the Dominican Republic, the piece also critically engages with “narrative” as such: through formal and stylistic innovations–and by amplifying this momentous event, minimized or omitted in all official accounts.

In {frst rvlt}, unknown and ignored figures of history have been imagined, real figures have been enlivened in fictional, sur- and super-real contexts to shed light on an episode about which there is very little information. The blend of imaginary expansions, polemical interventions, performative innovations, and radical formal inventions is a necessity leading to a new type of work with two very different iterations: the performative event, and the poetic/narrative text (the author’s final cut) finalized in Twine: a theoretico-poetic docu-fiction—or a long theoretico-fictional docu-poem that could be thought of as a libretto for en epic song.
{frst rvlt}–author’s cut in Twine (software for creating interactive fiction) has multiple entry-points, potential directionalities and reading possibilities, with various threads intersecting in different ways. The main text, accessed through the table of contents, forms a somewhat sequential representation fashioned through different scriptural strategies at rendering the sub-episodes of the grand rebellion. It can, however, be read in any number of ways, as different chapters can be accessed through the table of contents and/or read purely sequentially. The * in the sub-menu randomly takes the reader to a particular place in the overall text–and from there the reader can again continue sequentially or go back to the * or the table of contents. Fragments of the Remembrance Road Trip appear at the bottom of each ‘page’ in a randomized manner. Similarly, the {frst rvlt} performance invites ongoing interpretations with various actors, in different spaces, and through various modalities and sequences. The overall diptych is itself part of a trilogy exploring the Zona Colonial through literary, photographic and performative lenses. The Zona Trilogy in turn engages with the legacies of colonialism and its aftermaths through a multi-year (multi-decade, really), extremely focused (and unsettling) examination of an iconic site of encounters between peoples and destinies.


Amir Parsa

Associate Provost for Interdisciplinary and Integrative Learning; Founding Director, Center for Interdisciplinary Studie, Pratt Institute
I have been deeply invested in innovation--the avant-garde, radical new directions and more--in literature, art, and even within institutional settings. I believe my work in literary and poetic innovation opened up myriad possibilities and ventures into the 'art' realm--through exhibitions... Read More →

Maria Baker

visiting instructor, pratt institute

Saturday June 10, 2023 11:15am - 12:15pm EDT
Steuben 417 (Design Center)