It’s almost five in the morning. And the light of the fainting dawn, 

cold blue steel and with the tang and tart sharp taste of 

the day being born from the dark. 

And that emerges upon on the surface of time, 

I livid too, I being born from the shadows, impersonal, 

I who am it.

Clarice Lispector, Água Viva, page 66

Dear friends, guests and participants,

Welcome to the Água Viva programme. We are extremely excited and inspired to take this journey with you into the deep water, where creatures are bold, sassy and experiment with wonders. We envisioned this programme during lockdowns while writing experimental letters to each other [a few were written from that magical garden seen in the poster] as a survival instinct. Today, we feel it is the right time to invite all of you to experiment collectively.

We are interested in how Clarice Lispector lived through her experimentation in writing, and her way of writing bounded our collective and shaped our perceptions within the last years. That’s why we would like to dedicate this programme to Clarice, her fierce way of experimentation with language and words, her relationship with writing which inspired us to challenge the institutional expectations of writing in English as our second language, especially in arts, where we bloom.

Água Viva means both living/bubbling water and jellyfish in Portuguese, yet left untranslated in many English translations of the book, as the title refers to Lispector’s understanding of writing time—out of conventional time, Água Viva is to be in now, to be present, with the stream and free. Hard to be categorized in any genre, Água Viva for us is experimentation, poetry, letter, painting, essay, a collection of stories, and a fluid journey between fiction and reality that fascinates us thoroughly.

We believe Água Viva is based on these motivations;

  • Discovering collective storytelling practices through a place, a dream, a sound, a memory
  • Embracing the courage and fierceness of writers like Clarice Lispector, who opened the gates for all
  • Importance of experimentation in arts and writings
  • The joy and urgency of the act of storytelling through writing
  • Importance of open-sourced, shared libraries and knowledge sources
  • In international arts writing, creating spaces with care for other Mother Tongues

The programme invites alternative writing methodologies, different languages, imaginary worlds, new words, and lost yet-to-be-discovered stories. Acknowledging the limits of the private libraries’ and English-dominant knowledge structures, we open these online spaces hoping to provide new ingredients for new ways of telling and moving stories. Collective Cukurcuma is looking forward to holding the space with you all, listening to your stories and experimenting collectively within the Água Viva programme that will continue for the next six months in digital and physical spaces.

The research part of the Água Viva programme was kindly supported by Necessity funding, London.

The Emma’s [online workshop] by Rebecca Miller on Sunday July 10th, at 8 pm BST 

The Emma’s, Disrupting OuLiPo Techniques

Date: July 10, 2022 Time: 8pm (BST, GMT+1) [8pm for London, 9pm for Berlin, 12am (GMT-7) for San Francisco]
Moderated by Dr. Rebecca Miller
Venue: online, Zoom link will be provided to all participants
RSVP: collectivecukurcuma@gmail.com
[Please RSVP for this workshop to receive the workshop guideline list and as it will be limited to 15 participants] 

An acronym for Ouvirir de Litterature Potentielle (Workshop for Potential Literature), a group of writers and mathematicians formed in France by poet Raymond Queneau and mathematician François Le Lionnais. Unlike the DADA and surrealist movements, OuLiPo rejects spontaneous chance and the subconscious as sources of literary creativity. Instead, the group emphasizes systematic, self-restricting means of making texts. For example, the technique known as n+7 replaces every noun in an existing text with the noun that follows seven entries after it in the dictionary (Poetry Foundation, 2022)

Dr Rebecca Miller: I am a multidisciplinary artist, arts-based researcher, and educator. I work with traditional and computational art mediums. Critical theory, Feminist Technoscience and nomadic practices in creativity, storytelling and the making of meaning are woven into my art practice. I believe in the arts in health movement and that the arts are essential to the health and well-being of individuals, society, and the planet. I am experienced in lecturing and online learning and pedagogy. I specialize in themes of art and computational technology, digital arts-based research, image manipulation, visual culture, and participatory arts-based research. Currently, I work as a tutor and associate lecturer at the Institute of Digital Art and Technology (iDAT) at the University of Plymouth UK and on my own art practice.


Bradotti, R., 2014. Writing as a Nomadic Subject. Comparative Critical Studies, 11(2-3), pp.141-145. [online] Available at: https://rosibraidotti.com/publications/writing-as-a-nomadic-subject/ [Accessed 29 June 2022].

Coolidge, S., 2017. Who Are the Women of Oulipo? [online] Available at: <https://www.catranslation.org/blog-post/who-are-the-women-of-oulipo/&gt; [Accessed 29 June 2022].

Gleeson, J., 2021. Interview, Judith Butler: ’We need to rethink the category of woman’. The Guardian, [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/sep/07/judith- butler-interview-gender [Accessed 29 June 2022].

Poetry Foundation, 2022. Glossary of Poetic Terms, OuLiPo. [online] Available at: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/gossary-terms/oulipo [Accessed 29 June 2022].


The Emma’s [IRL workshop] by Rebecca Miller on Tuesday, August 16th, 6-8.30 pm BST at No Show Space

Date: Tuesday, August 16th
Time: 6-8 pm

Venue: No Show Space39 Temple St, London E2 6QQ https://goo.gl/maps/YCehu3QNckmoLad97

RSVP: collectivecukurcuma@gmail.com [Please RSVP for this workshop as it will be limited to 15 participants, thank you for your understanding.

The second instalment of The Emma’s workshop will take place in real life at No Show space in London. Having critically explored the Oulipo group in the previous workshop, this edition will focus on contemporary practices of literary constraint or generative engines. Such as work by Dodie Bellamy, Juliana Sphar and Stephanie Young’s Foulipo, and Joe Brainard.  In 2015 Louis Bury, author of Exercises in Ciriticism: The Theory and Practice of Literary Constraint asked the question, “what does the phenomenon that I call the “recent efflorescence of American constraint-based writing” (P.18) mean about us as writers and poets even today in 2022? We extend this question to include international writing practitioners.

The participants from the first workshop are invited to bring their personal writing constraints that they conceptualized and the experiments they made following the workshop. Those that are new to the workshop will be introduced to Oulipian and contemporary literary constraints to guide them to design their own. Together we will explore ways that the experiments could be performed, collaborated with, and visualized within the gallery space.  In this workshop, we will consider how constraints could operate in visual arts practice and identify artists that use these techniques. We will look at the subgroup Ougrapo (Ouvrir Du Design Graphique Potentiel) and Oupeinpo (The workshop of potential painting) as case studies.

Through methods of play, collaboration, and improvisation, we aim to generate innovative and performative text-based art experiments.

Participation Guide
  1. Please look at the links to texts provided in the references list below and familiarize yourself with the content. 
  2. Please bring a text to work with. This could be a book, photocopy, or a magazine. This needs to be something you do not mind marking on, drawing on or cutting up. We will have materials such as coloured pens, pencils, and tape scissors that you can use for your work.
  3. Be ready to create your own artificial restriction in literature to experiment with. 
  4. Please feel relaxed during the workshop; CC workshops are very informal, so we recommend you wear your comfortable clothes, enjoy the snacks, meet others and always feel free to ask anything you feel confused about or not clarified by our team and feel free to leave the workshop at any time needed.
  5. Bring a friend! Personal invitations are always the most special ones; please invite whoever you think might be interested in this workshop, as all our events are free and open to all! 


Bury, L., 2015. Exercises in criticism: the theory & practice of literary constraint. Illinois: Dalkey Archive Press.

Bellamy, D., 2015. When the sick rule the world. South Pasadena: Semiotext(e).

Bray, OP., (2016) Playing with Constraint: Performing the OuLiPo and the clinamen-performer. Performance Research: a journal of the performing arts, 21 (4). pp. 41-46. ISSN 1469-9990 website < https://eprints.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/id/eprint/2730/>

Spahr, J., Young, S., 2011. “Foulipo”, in A megaphone: some enactments, some numbers, and some essays about continued usefulness of crotchless-pants and a machine gun Feminism. Oakland: Chainlinks pp.31-42. website
<https://www .academia.edu/20334748/A_Megaphone_Some_Enactments_Some_Numbers_a nd_Some_Essays_in_Which_We_Ponder_the_Continued_Usefulness_of_Crotchless_pants_an d_a_machine_gun_Feminism>


Worldbuilding with Kwaku Osei-Afrifa: collective experimentation within science fiction and fantasy

Date:  19th of October, 6.30-8.30 pm
Venue: Kupfer Project Space, Unit 5, The Textile Building, 2a Belsham St, London E9 6NG

RSVP: collectivecukurcuma@gmail.com [Please RSVP for this workshop to receive the workshop guideline, including the suggested reading texts and as it will be limited to 14 participants, thank you for your understanding.] 

As the third session of the ongoing Água Viva programme organised by Collective Cukurcuma, writer Kwaku Osei-Afrifa will moderate a collaborative imagination experiment that will be centred around worldbuilding; we welcome all as our workshops are not structured strictly for writers.

Kwaku Osei-Afrifa is a writer and commissioning editor for Footnote Press living in London. Either side of a two-year stint as a chef, they worked at Canongate, Titan, and Unbound and Hodder & Stoughton’s new imprint: Hodder Studio. They have previously written for Manchester Evening News, Huffington Post, and the Bookseller. The Surf is their first novella, and a second is on the way, alongside about a million other things.

You can purchase the signed and limited editions of The Surf here – https://rebellionpublishing.com/product/the_surf-2/

Suggested reading list for this workshop;

1. The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C Clarke – http://www.ministryoftruth.me.uk/the-nine-billion-names-of-god-arthur-c-clarke/

2. A Scale Model of Gull Point by Kate Folk – https://granta.com/scale-model-gull-point/

3. Tower of Babel by Ted Chiang – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pnPAY22wNwnkTYYoW56xPM02mYeQdE_d/view?usp=sharing


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