Boris Van den Eynde, PhD in the Arts

In the PhD project Word in Process and the accompanying dissertation The Surrational Emancipation Plan of the Word Processor, Boris Van den Eynden examines how computer-aided text work can be understood as poetic activity. The study compares the work of the typographer with that of the word processor and reveals both similarities and differences. With the help of Searle’s speech act theory and Habermas' theory of communicative action Van den Eynden shows that typographic text work takes place in a context of dialogue. In addition, he creates a framework within which the word processor operates and text work is mainly understood as the manipulation of formal materialities. This focus on the formal materiality of electronic texts - in addition to the emphasis on graphic and phonetic materiality - is theorized as a poetic function of language. This theoretical framework was developed in a permanent interplay with artistic creation. In addition to the dissertation, the doctoral project resulted in a "Collected Works” box of about twenty volumes. These publications carry the mechanisms of word processing to an extreme, thus questioning current viewpoints, attitudes and practices within visual art, performance, graphic design and literature.


  • Dr. Volkmar Mühleis (supervisor, KU Leuven/LUCA)
  • Mr. Arne De Winde (co-supervisor, LUCA)

Research Unit: Image

Duration: completed 2018