This responsive poem takes the concept of the cut-up and places it in a hauntingly beautiful interface. Based on an image of a wintry Swedish landscape populated by a single evergreen tree and blackbirds against a misty gray sky, this environment is filled with visible and invisible input cues for readers to click on and reveal the texts. The visible cues are the birds, which bring forth the poem suspended in the sky into readability, one bird and line at a time. The sky itself is a grid of hotspots that when clicked reveal a portion of a narrative prose poem in the black background of the earth. The sounds and understated movements of the mist, tree, and birds create a disquieting mood that suits the situation described in the text, one that is full of darkness, implications of violence, and a mystery that encourages readers to explore every surface in this work to get as much information as possible.
This kinetic poem is documented as a video recording of its performance, which would require emulation to run correctly on contemporary computers, now 20 years removed from its original computational environments. Its aesthetics are fitting with other works produced by the French digital poetry group L.A.I.R.E. (Lecture, Art, Innovation, Recherche, Écriture) in the late 1980s and pre-WWW years. The poem’s simple design and use of graphical elements shouldn’t be confused with simplicity of expression. Au contraire, its minimalist use of animation, changing color, and scheduled textual delivery are used as writing.
The title itself is an indicator of the poem’s strategies, as it takes a phrase, inverts its syntax to form another, transforming its textual and graphic elements more than once to write more lines over time than the sum total of written lines. Keeping this in mind, use the subtitles as a source of translation of its words, but not necessarily as an accurate depiction of what can be read at a given moment.
This video poem is composed from footage of a “Dream Hospital” newsreel, video clips from a nursing documentary from 1942 (also used in Bogaert’s “You’re Lying and You Filter,” Bogaert’s lines of verse (translated from Dutch by John Irons), voice-over recordings, and ambient sounds. Bogaert’s text and editing bring together short looped video clips to create a whole new narrative about an absurd experimental treatment, made particularly surreal by voice-overs of poetic language that barely fits the visual context provided by the video. The short looped clips are edited and to create an illusion of narrative continuity, which makes is more disconcerting, because there is nothing natural in identical bodily movements associated with different speech content, not to mention the repeated injections that the patient is subjected to.
I just hope they’re able to free the bird.
This kinetic poem is takes the ancient rhetorical and poetic device of the dialogue to investigate the virtual, conceptual, and perceptual spaces of programmable media. Inspired by theoretical writings by John Cayley and Jean-François Lyotard, this poem explores binaries between past and present, old and new, letter and word, simple and complex writing surfaces, and the right and left eye— each of which has a distinct voice and perspective on the topic.
This mutable poem explores a simple concept, word substitution, using sophisticated tools. The data set is WordNet, which clusters words conceptually so substitutions are governed by synonymy, metonymy, and semantics which should allow the prose poem to retain some coherence. But does it? Here’s the poem after running for minute or so:
This collaborative poem is designed as an installation at Brown University’s CAVE, a cube-shaped room equipped with projection in all six directions, surround sound, and multiple input devices, such as 3D goggles, gloves, and head tracking. Soderman and Carter use this last input significantly in this work as described in their artists’ statement:
Surrounded by four giant close-ups of cinematic starlets gazing down upon you, there is no choice but to look (or look away). Using the built-in “headtracking” feature of the Cave, a portion of the starlet’s face in your line of sight fades away, thus interrupting the (masculine) desire to possess through the gaze: you cannot help but see through what you desire to possess.
This collaborative poem was written for the CAVE at Brown University and is a relatively simple yet compelling argument for this kind of writing, initiated by Robert Coover in 2002. Other CAVE works reviewed in this blog have published video documentation of a performance, which is a far cry from the real deal, but considering it takes time and money to travel to Brown University to use their CAVE (and a prohibitive amount of money to build one), this will do. Soderman and Carter have gone a step further by providing access to the Cave Text Editor and the source files for readers to explore the work and run a preview of it.
This collaborative poem in three parts makes virtuoso use of the marquee tag, which along with the ever-annoying blink tag, has been disavowed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which imperils its existence in future browsers. Each of its parts uses this tag as a central device for shaping its text in a different way to play with Barthes’ notion of how the past is reduced and turned into “a slim and pure logos” through narrative as well as with Descartes’ use of the latin phrase larvatus prodeo (I come forth, masked).
This generative sonnet is inspired by Raymond Queneau’s Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes but takes a highly visual approach by using images of poets, book spines, and other images. The images are cropped into strips, much like the line-pages in Queneau’s book, an ideal proportion for book spines (see a similar treatment by Jody Zellen) and the photographed eyes of iconic poets. The lines respond to mouseovers, allowing you to change the work as needed.