This suite of poems were created from speech to text software listening to different kinds of audio— movies, talk radio, television, and political speeches— and a poetic shaping of the output from that computer operation. This ingenious approach produces some fascinating poems which you might label as “Conceptual writing” or “Flarf poetry” (flip a coin). Part of the interest of this method and its results is how different is the texture of the language produced:
The Matrix (link)
The quasi-philosophical language of this cyberpunk action movie from 1999 is full of the rhetoric of human freedom vs. machine oppresion and long monologues to accompany action sequences. Was this poem generated from one of Morpheus’ or Agent Smith’s many diatribes?
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC Radio):
I don’t know the talk radio show this was generated from, but the language of corporate military industrial complex, with shades of globalization, market capital, and the shaping of human bodies make the world of The Matrix seem inviting.
Home Shopping Network (link)
Whatever was being sold when Nelson ran the speech to text generator produced language very much concerned with the home and its domestic domain, along with the desire to control (dominate?) those who play.
George W. Bush 2002 State of the Union Address (link):
The words identified by the program and shaped by Nelson cannot help but reveal some of the latent content in Bush’s speech. A decade later, words like “credit,” “occupy,” “occupy,” and the phrase “a decade of / stitches” resonate with prophetic hindsight.
Considering what Nelson has found, generated, and shaped from these four cultural texts, I invite you to continue exploring the poetic texts and see what other subtexts are revealed.
And think about whether you’re ready to take the blue pill or the red pill.