This poem may seem like a simple slideshow that combines text and images but it is built with born-digital materials that have little to do with print culture. The background images are taken from sprites—graphical objects that form part of a program visual design and contain programmed behaviors. Both in its choice of sprites and fonts, the work favors an 8 and 16 bit videogame aesthetic, evidenced by its pixellation and bold fonts. And even though by turning these materials into images, their programmed behaviors are stripped, they retain cultural impact, particularly for those familiar with their provenance. One doesn’t have to be videogame aficionado to appreciate their aesthetics, since a few decades of exposure to these videogame graphics has caused some cultural burn-in, to the point that they’ve become part of our visual and computational vocabulary.
As you read the poem in all its retro glory, consider how the speaker’s nostalgic language resonates with the materials it was written with.