Archive for the ‘networks, social media, electronic culture, poetics’ Category

dmehta19 creates poetry through RoboPoem

March 4, 2012

Dhaman currently features a poem he has constructed using RoboPoem, an application built by artist and programmer C.P. Bryan of British Columbia. His work is available through InterAnnex Web Applications.

Dhaman’s use of the tool is documented well on his Web site. A quick look at the first couplets lets us see how a certain mood and voice can be produced by vocabulary alone.

Perhaps he did not occur spooked
to work i was as if stopped rooked
Stay in these papers he potion
Our hands troupe acclimatization
heart and the time to bonefish
In the cat reposed dice flatfish
White affair was shelling the quid
Wrecked in attentive couldest quid
Saw in the centre of work store
Got filled his back oxbow encore

Click here to read more of his comments on using text generators for poetry: dmehta19. Dhaman addresses in his posts some of the common uncertainties writers may feel using automated semantic tools to construct one’s work.  As I noted in class, it can seem rather disconcerting to consider language as something other than the expression of personal thoughts and ideas. Text generation, as both a practice and concept, invites us to understand the medium of language much as a photographer sees his or her own tools – as instruments that capture and transcribe our surrounding environment. In this paradigm, language can be seen, not so much as personal expression. but as a kind of resource to be used to to translate our thoughts and ideas for public consumption. Here, sentences, syntax, semantics, etc. can all be considered to comprise a kind of snapshot of our thoughts. Better technologies make for better, clearer communication. Hasn’t anyone ever wished for a language generator that makes our efforts to communicate seem more “high definition”?



January 15, 2012


Being Social

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Being Social is the opening exhibition at Furtherfield Gallery in Finsbury Park in North London. Furtherfield has established an international reputation as London’s first gallery for networked media art since 2004. With this exciting move to a more public space Furtherfield invites artists and techies – amateurs, professionals, celebrated stars and private enthusiasts – to engage with local and global, everyday and epic themes in a process of imaginative exchange.

Any Idea upon which We Can Ride.

February 25, 2011

Outlining a “pragmaticist” orientation towards truth, William James implies the importance of narrative devices in the construction of knowledge, where ideas are valuable in so much as they continue to lead us back to our experience; truths appear intermittently as “any idea upon which we can ride . . . any idea that will carry us prosperously from any one part of our experience to any other part, linking things satisfactorily, working securely, simplifying, saving labor” (Pragmatism, 26-27) .

Pragmaticist “truth”, of course, must emphasize its instrumental aspects, leaving the essence of things to experience. All good scientists likely agree – then, in James’s time, as much as in the present day. Suffice to say here that a lack of essence in the narratives we build (or simply use) to explain and convey emergent ideas does not render such tools valueless. In fact, they remain – these narratives, these simplifications, these satisfying links – all that keeps us from silence. Essence can’t be measured, a pramaticist will tell us; truth can’t really be talked about in any meaningful way. But narrative can.

This is some of the intellectual context behind my recent presentation at the 4th International Conference on Writing Research on a panel organised by Norbert Elliot of NJIT and featuring Les Perelman (MIT), Chaitanya Ramineni and Paul Deane of Educational Testing Services. The issue at hand concerns the ongoing technological and pedagogical development of automated grading software, but more broadly speaks to our own increasingly complex relationship as writers to digital semantic technologies. I continue to use them more and more in both my class instruction and my critical work – to say nothing of their growing importance in helping me navigate the text that is my everyday life. Oddly enough, as with many writers using programmable writing tools, the allure was initially a creative one. Text generators and animated writing software appeared first as exciting tools to use to write new forms of poetry.

An article reviewing the panel can be found here in Inside Higher Education. It was reprinted in USA Today the following day.

Bill Tucker adds his comments in his article “Can Computers Assess Writing?”