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Open “Realization Randomatic 2000” by Ted Warnell
The minimalist interface for this piece presents two links, one in each black square, that lead to a “Poem by Nari.” Self-described as “visual poems from the cyberstream,” these conceptual poems are inspired by the Web— its aesthetics, code, images, and texts, both intended and accidental— and reworked by Warnell to comment, highlight, and transform it into e-poetic works that are difficult to classify in any conventional genre or art form, except as net.art, which is far from traditional. Returning to this piece (or reloading the page) shows different works in the window, keeping the experience fresh while frustrating attempts at re-reading the works by providing uncertain access to them.
For example, reading the source code for this work helps to understand Warnell’s goals. Warning: looking at the code does spoil some of the surprise element and makes previously unreadable texts readable. There is pleasure in this code, where we can see Warnell express himself in another manifestation of his poetic voice. This being said, I will take a look at the HTML file for “Realization Randomatic 2000” and see what may be gleaned about this enigmatic work.
This piece is an interface for users to randomly access 2 out of 16 “Realization” poem[s] by Nari. The source code offers a complete list:
var a = new Array(
'code0101', 'disco', 'e16mu', 'flyforms',
'forest', 'links', 'mirrors', 'mcntrol',
'newgrape', 'parstime', 'recente', 'shadtime',
'sparlife', 'usno_utc', 'v10', 'vart' );
Because the paired poems are selected randomly, we may interpret two possible intentions for the structure:
- any of the poems can go with any other, because the whole set is conceptually coherent.
- the poems are meant to be read individually, because the choice is completely random and all associations are created by the reader.
Does this piece lead readers to speculative readings of randomly juxtaposed poems, rewarding them with new combinations of poems that lead to new potential readings? Or does it subvert attempts to reduce the poems through single interpretations since the interface’s random combinatorial design produces 2^16 (65,536) possible combinations?
Your attitude and approach towards this kind of conceptual poetry may determine whether you find your insights rewarded or subverted.