Digital Poetry

Program 5 - Digital Poetry

Available on Eduardo Kac: Telepresence, Bio Art & Poetry [1980-2010]

Não!
1982, 01:07, Brazil, silent, color, digital poem to video

The digital poem Não! was originally conceived to be displayed as a loop on a LED signboard. The piece is organized in text blocks that circulate at equal intervals, leaving the screen blank prior to the flow of the next text block. The visual rhythm alternates between the appearance and disappearance of the fragmented verbal material, asking the reader to link them semantically as the letters go by. The internal visual tempo of the poem is added to the subjective performance of the reader. The piece was created in 1982 and presented on an electronic signboard in 1984 at the Centro Cultural Cândido Mendes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Reabracadabra
1985, 00:35, Brazil, silent, color, digital poem to video

The digital poem Reabracadabra was created to be displayed on a Minitel terminal (a pre-Internet online service). An incantatory word of Kabbalistic resonance is rendered as a cosmic monolith following the atomic model, where the vowel is the nucleus, and the consonants are orbiting particles. The digital poem Reabracadabra was shown in 1985 in an online Minitel art gallery presented by Companhia Telefônica de São Paulo, Brazil. Reabracadabra is a digital recreation
of the holopoem entitled Abracadabra, also exhibited in 1985.

OCO
1985, 01:15, Brazil/U.S., silent, b&w, interactive digital poem to video

The interactive digital poem OCO [hollow] explores the threedimensional architecture of the letters O, C, and I, and the multiple meanings (in Portuguese) that derive when the letter I rhythmically appears and disappears creating the words “o cio” [in heat] and “ócio” [idleness]. These meanings emerge through the cognitive associations made by the viewer, as well as the perceived spatial relationships between the letters. Originally presented in 1985 as a holopoem, OCO was recreated as an interactive digital poem in 1990 and published on floppy disks. This video records one viewer’s interaction with the digital poem on a personal computer.

Tesão
1985-86, 01:14, Brazil, silent, color, digital poem to video

The digital poem Tesão [horniness] was originally created to be displayed on a Minitel terminal (a pre-Internet online service). Words emerge and disappear through layers of lines and color masses, forming an ephemeral digital graffiti. The work was shown online in 1986, in the group exhibition Brazil High-Tech, at a Minitel art gallery organized by Eduardo Kac and Flavio Ferraz and presented by Companhia Telefônica de São Paulo, Brazil.

Recaos
1986, 00:22, Brazil, silent, color, digital poem to video

The digital poem Recaos was originally conceived to be displayed on a Minitel terminal (pre-Internet online service). Letters forming the word “caos” [chaos] ricochet off the edges of the screen to simultaneouslyform an open-ended hourglass outline and the infinity symbol. As they zigzag, the letters overlap to suggest new meanings. The work was shown online in 1986 in the group exhibition Brazil High-Tech, at a Minitel art gallery organized by Eduardo Kac and Flavio Ferraz, and presented by Companhia Telefônica de São Paulo, Brazil. Recaos is a digital recreation of the holopoem entitled Caos, also exhibited in 1986.

Deus
Eduardo Kac, 1986, 00:34, Brazil, silent, black & white, digital poem to video

The digital poem Deus [God] was originally created to be displayed in a Minitel public terminal (pre-internet online service). Upon close scrutiny, the seemingly random letters and numbers that form the barcode reveal hidden meanings. The work was shown online in 1986, in the group exhibition Brazil High-Tech, at a Minitel art gallery organized by Eduardo Kac and Flavio Ferraz and presented by Companhia Telefônica de São Paulo [São Paulo Telephone Company], in São Paulo, Brazil.

IO
1990, 01:01, U.S., silent, color, digital poem to video

The interactive digital poem IO is a three-dimensional navigational poem in which the letters/numbers I and O appear as elements of an imaginary landscape. IO is “I” in Italian. This piece also stands for reconciled differences (one/zero, line/circle, etc.). The reader is invited to interact and explore the space created by the stylized letters/numbers, and experience it both as an abstract environment and as a visual text. In the expanded cosmic self, the dot of the letter “i” is the sun. This video records one viewer’s interaction with the digital poem on a personal computer. The digital poem IO was originally published on floppy disk.

Storms
1993, 02:04, U.S., b&w, sound, interactive digital poem to video

The digital poem Storms is a hypertext based on the sefirotic tree of the Kabbalah. To navigate through the poem, one is invited to click on a letter at any given time. In some instances navigation can also take place by clicking outside the word. If the reader does not make a choice — that is, if they do not click on a vowel or consonant, or in some instances also an empty space — the reader will remain stationary. The poem does not have an ending. This means that one can continue to explore different textual navigation possibilities or quit at anytime. Storms was first published online in 1993 through FTP (file transfer protocol). This video records one viewer’s interaction with the digital poem on a personal computer.

Accident
1994, 00:14, U.S., b&w, sound, looped digital poem to video

The digital poem Accident was originally conceived as a runtime looped animation in which language continuously appears and disappears. New meanings emerge as a speech fragment is repeated and letters disappear. Accident was first published online in 1994 through FTP (file transfer protocol). This video records one viewer’s interaction with the digital poem on a personal computer.

UPC
1994, 01:36, Slovenia/U.S., color, sound, video

The digital poem UPC is a live digital poetry installation in which letters are continuously projected against the wall in a loop. The letters emerge out of focus on the right, move across diagonally and come into focus, and then disappear, out of focus, to the left. At once literal and metaphorical, the verbal material “Nothing Above To Left Or Right Nothing Below” evokes multiple analogies. UPC was originally exhibited in the U.S. in 1994; this video documents UPC as shown in Kac’s solo exhibition from May 4th to May 15th, 2007 at KIBLA Multimedia Centre, Maribor, Slovenia.

Insect.Desperto
1995, 00:29, U.S., b&w, sound, digital poem to video

The digital poem Insect.Desperto is a runtime animation in which the visual and soundtracks function independently and complementarily in two languages (English and Portuguese, one not being the translation of the other). “Desperto” means awaken in Portuguese. Insect.Desperto was first published online in 1994 through FTP (file transfer protocol).

Secret
1996, 01:09, U.S., b&w, silent, interactive digital poem to video

The digital poem Secret is an interactive VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) navigational poem. The words in Secret are dispersed in the semantic darkness of a potential space. The reader is invited to navigate this space, and create verbal and visual links between immaterial presences, voids and distant signs. This was the first poem written directly in VRML. This video records one viewer’s interaction with the digital poem on a personal computer. Secret was first published on the Internet in 1996.

Wine
1996, 01:11, U.S., color, silent, digital poem to video

The digital poem Wine is a runtime animation. It suggests an inebriated mental state in which foreground and background blend in almost undifferentiated fashion. The poem articulates the fleeting apparitions of the words from within themselves, as if one word would write another. Words momentarily manifest themselves in unexpected areas on the screen, often bordering the very edge. The piece communicates as much through its verbal apparitions as it does through their carefully orchestrated  evanescence. Wine was originally published on floppy disk in 1996.

Letter
1996, 01:09, U.S., b&w, silent, interactive digital poem to video

The interactive digital poem Letter is a navigational poem that presents the viewer with the image of a three-dimensional spiral jetting from the center of a two-dimensional spiral. Both spirals are made exclusively of text. The reader is able to grab and spin this cosmic verbal image in all directions. Thus, reading becomes a process of probing the virtual object from all possible angles. The reader is also able to fly through and around the object, expanding reading possibilities. In Letter a spiraling cone made of words can be interpreted as both converging to or diverging from the flat text. Together they may evoke the creation or destruction of a star. Both texts were created as if they were fragments of letters written to the same person. However, in order to convey a particular emotional sphere, the author conflated the subject positions of grandmother, mother, and daughter into one addressee. It is not possible to distinguish to whom each fragment is addressed. The poem makes reference to moments of birth and death in the poet’s family. This video records one viewer’s interaction with the digital poem on a personal computer. Letter was first published on the Internet in 1996.

Reversed Mirror
1997, 06:34, U.S., b&w, sound, video

The videopoem Reversed Mirror is a single-channel piece that presents a constant flow and transformation of images that oscillate and create ephemeral words that dissolve and emerge as new words. The piece takes language into a domain of trance in which the subtle dissolution and reconfiguration of verbal particles are charged with a feeling that is at once calm and tense.

Perhaps
1998-99, 02:06, U.S., b&w, silent, interactive online digital poem to video

The interactive online digital poem Perhaps is a virtual world with 24 avatars, with each avatar as a different word. Each reader, in order to read the poem, must establish their own presence in this world through a verbal avatar. As remote participants choose a word and log on with their word-avatar, their word choices determine the semantic sphere of that particular readerly experience. Once in the world, they make decisions about where to go. In so doing, they move toward or away from other words (i.e., toward or away from other participants), producing a syntax of transient meanings based on the constant movement, as well as the approximation and isolation of the words. For example: the word “blood” moving towards the word “abloom” has a very different meaning from the word “titanium” moving away from the word “violet.” This poem was experimentally read online throughout 1999 using a special server in the Art and Technology Department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This video records one viewer’s interaction with the digital poem.