Lenora de Barros began her trajectory in the 1970s, encouraged by the radical experimentations taking place at the time in Brazil. She was particularly influenced by the legacy of Noigandres, a Brazilian group formed in 1952 that explored a new genre of avant-garde poetry, placing an increased importance on the typography of language. De Barros’ POEMA (POEM) (1979) emphasises the visual and physical properties of language through bodily gestures. This sequence of black-and-white vignettes captures close-up images of a mouth provocatively revealing its tongue, which licks the keys of a typewriter, interacts with the type bars until they adhere to it, and disrupts the inner workings of the machine. With this muted act of defiance, Lenora de Barros suggests the possibility of the disintegration of borders between languages and the transformation of language into alternative narratives. Influenced by the words of French poet Stéphane Mallarmé, and in particular by the challenge of the blank page, POEMA (POEM) marks the origin of a “wordless” poem birthed from the relationship between tongue and typewriter, creating tension between these two entities to point towards the repetition and mechanisation of gendered labour in both the domestic and professional realms.