This poignant poem uses music, scheduling, and slight textual animation to tell the story of a shy boy. The arrangement of lines in time and space lead readers to experience the poem cinematically and spatially. Each line— and portion of a line— adds a layer to the “shy boy” it describes, leading the reader into an experience of the work as designed by Swiss. The story’s sadness is enhanced by the scheduling and music as each little portion adds to its tone. Wear headphones for a more emotionally powerful reception of the poem and be patient with its delicate pace to experience it in all its heart wrenching simplicity.
This is a poem that uses language and code in textural ways. The letters are arranged in a light grey color on a white background clustered so densely that only a few words that jut out are readable. Three squares trigger a dark grey image to appear under the words, which creates more contrast for increased legibility, but it is not a true improvement. The few words one can make out are snippets of code, which might be an invitation to see what is in the source code.
This responsive poem installation is inspired by the Anna O., a patient of Joseph Breuer’s, whose publication of research on her treatment with Sigmund Freud led to the birth of psychoanalysis and the “talking cure.” The installations documented in this link demonstrate the idea by providing an image of her words splashed across the screen and an image of her face reveals other layers of language that lie beneath the surface of the image. This enacts Freud’s theories about the unconscious and repression by using the image as a kind of window into two or three layers of language. On the top level, we can read the work, noting that the speaker has a steady tone, reading two more levels of text, each revealed by a different part of the face. The installation provides better opportunities for setup and interaction, but you get the ideas well from the documentation.
As her libido’s cathexis continues to bubble up in her eyes sockets and hair one must wonder whether she is cured or not.
These three poems by Nick Montfort take an ancient literary and cultural tradition, the riddle, and brings them into the digital age by using CGI scripting to allow readers to guess the response without the riddler needing to be present. The poems provide a simple input cue: a text box where the reader can type in their guess and a button that submits that response to a script, which checks the answer for a match and sends a response, whether it was correct or not. This script was probably written in Perl, a programming language Montfort uses extensively, particularly in his “ppg256” series of poem generators. Part of the interest in this choice of scripting language is that he is able to keep the answer hidden from readers, even from those who like to take a peek at the source code (like me). It also means that he could design a riddle without a correct answer, enacting what Philippe Bootz calls “the Aesthetics of Frustration.”
But what is the point of a riddle? Is the pleasure in the answer in puzzling over the question?
This multimedia poem gives a voice to a body and mind imagined through computational conditions. Mary Anne Breeze / Mez / Netwurker has developed a language practice known as mezangelle, which she uses in this poem to create a cyborg lyric voice. The implied metaphor in the title is that data has a body and it is bleeding, perhaps it has been wounded. Mapped onto electronic texts, the displayed texts are the skin, while the code is the rest of the body, including the blood. What we read is a combination of computer and natural languages, both of which are executable.
This multimedia poem is an assault on the senses— visually, kinetically, and aurally— it bombards the reader with so much information, color, sound, and stimulus that it is difficult to process, much less read. The text is handwritten and moves, spins, changes around some boxes the reader can manipulate, moving each whirling cluster to a spot in the window where it might be legible. The music, noise, and speech loop loudly but barely understandably, much like the handwritten text. Even in the menu page the typed text is so skewed that it is barely legible. How does one approach this piece?
This four part “poem cluster taken from a hypermedia novel in verse (as yet untitled), which reimagines the classical myth of Kore” and reimagining the “Minotaur as a combination of human and machine” (quoted from the About page). The site of the labyrinth in this poem is the body and the mind, its obsessions, phobias, grooves, orifices, and sensory organs. Has Kore been partially trapped in a maze of her own body and mind (after being abducted by Hades and eating some pomegranate seeds)? Is the Minotaur trapped in the maze infinite logical loops that it can’t escape from? This challenging poem prompts reflection on these and more questions in four cantos, each of which creates an ingenious interface around a part of the human body. Each part is labyrinthine in its structure and requires attention to not miss brief animations and transformations in its language. And everything is meaningful in this tightly crafted work that selected as a finalist in the ELO’s 2001 Electronic Literature Awards. Featured in Cauldron & Net.
This fascinating poem is derived from Gertrude Stein’s poetry throughout her career and exemplifies the practice of what Kenneth Goldsmith calls uncreative writing. As he explains in his essay, Reed sought to map out a “landscape” of Stein’s practice, so he devised the following algorithm to generate nine texts from Gertrude Stein: