“A Dialogue Between Two Eyeballs” by Braxton Soderman

Screen capture from "A Dialogue Between Two Eyeballs" by Braxton Soderman. Black backgorund with stripes of white. text: "B: Well, I don't know how to tell / two things apart, in the / silence of sheer indecision / in the impossibility of / the infinitesiaml, where / the absence of motion / sheds a still nightmare". "
Open “A Dialogue Between Two Eyeballs” by Braxton Soderman

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.

The poem’s dialogue unfolds in a page_space that enacts some of its ambivalent conversation. The background consists of words from a stanza blown up beyond readability to the point they become enough of a contrast for the foreground text— a process repeated with inverted colors to offer a linear progression of the poem and its ideas. The audio track for this piece is reminiscent of the “star gate sequence” in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and may be designed to create a sense of anxiety for the reader to press on in the work, in contrast to the interest in the lines of verse and the ideas they express. Combined with the lateral motion of lines around a center, and the unidirectional back-and-forth progression, this page_space enacts the poem’s rhetorical dynamics between the new and the old.

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