@AliciaWnderland is (update: shut down in 2016) a twitterbot that tweets out an alternate version of Alice In Wonderland (properly titled Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland) with glitches and confusions that obfuscate the original text. By re-translating the story from Esperanto -a language intended for universal understanding- back into English, the new stilted and parallel narrative bridges cultures via violating and mocking modern concepts of language, eras, the divide between human and robot, and such arcane distinctions as print and the web.

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll has been a popular nonsense tale since its publication in 1865 due in part to its willingness to deal in uncertain logic, literary nonsense, and fantasy. Children and adults have always enjoyed the story, and its images and themes were embraced by 1960s counterculture, particularly American drug culture linchpins like Jefferson Airplane.

Esperanto is the world’s most popular constructed language, created by L. L. Zamenhof in 1887, a Jewish physician and leftist. Zamenhof’s goal was to create an easy-to-learn, politically neutral language that would transcend nationality and foster peace and understanding between people who speak different languages. He was a polymath and multilingual, fluent in Russian and Yiddish (his native languages), Belarusian, Polish, French, German and studying Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic though he himself reported that he was not very proficient in English.

Sadly for Zamenhof, Esperanto never became the ubiquitous lingua franca that he had envisioned. Nevertheless, Esperanto currently boasts 200,000 - 300,000 speakers worldwide, and is used by NGOs, fraternal organizations, schools, utopians, and other hobbyists.

@AliciaWnderland churns the utopian vision of a world of peace and universal understanding through the lens of surrealist absurdity. The twitterbot illustrates the potential effects of translation error on a narrative. She helps us to see what is both lost and gained as one language is refracted into another, and the result of retranslation adds another layer of absurdity by making the textual material itself absurd @AliciaWnderland’s textual reconstruction applies shades of Lewis’s famous warped logic to the structure of the prose itself, and in doing so reflects back at us new distorted shapes of storytelling and beauty.