Archives for the Month of February, 2005

Generative Poetics

Perl Poetry

There have been lots of analogies between writing code and writing poetry. At the very least there is similarity in the act of typing, a percussive spatial action that hammers out abstract rhythms on the keyboard. Check out Dakadaka from Group C for a visual representation. has an interesting paper that examines the relationship between poetry and code and idea of generative poetry. It correctly points out that the Dadaists and Surrealists were probably the first to use random numbers and chance systems to build complex automatic generative poetry. It further says:

‘All poetry might be seen to be generative in that it is always in the process of becoming. Even for the Surrealist Paul Valéry, a poem ‘entails a continuous linkage between the voice that is, the voice that impends, and the voice that is to come’. It is generative in the sense that it unfolds in real-time.’

Perl Poetry isn’t really generative as such but it’s really kinda cool.

‘Many Perl programmers are linguistically adept; the expressivity and flow of our language attracts people who enjoy the written word. Perl programmers also tend to have a lot of free time from getting their jobs done so quickly, and so it’s natural that they sometimes blend Perl and wordplay. One common manifestation of this whimsy is Perl poetry: a poem that also happens to be a functioning program.’

The Societyforpotentialliteratures is a collection of generative illustrations inspired by Oulipo – a form of generative poetry and literature. The illustrations combine both algorithmic reconstructions and manual deformations. Other works apply recursive algorithms to live video feeds.

Levitated has its 6bit Iching.poetry.generator – not to be missed.

‘The observer is allowed to make five state changes. State changes are made by selected active nodes in the circles. Active nodes are logically defined by changes in each of the hexagram’s six bits.

Energy particles stream from the position of the selecting mechanism.

English labels for each of the 64 states were written by hand, and are of great relevance to the meaning of the poem generated.

Words within the poem are generated behind the viewer. Slowly, each word comes into view as it travels a path through three dimensional space, in real time, as controlled by the observer. The words eventually destabilizes after traveling into the distance. Destabilized words behave erratically and fly off into oblivion.’

Autumn – Pawfal

Autumn – Pawfal

Pawfal are doing a lot of interesting things with sound using Linux. I confess to not having played with Linux for a few years now for various reasons but some of these meta-audio-gadgets certainly give me an excuse to fire up my Vaio with Dynebolic

Autumn is an application that creates, or rather grows, melodies by the interactive growing and selection of tree like lifeforms. The environment is a simple plane populated by a number of trees, forming a forest (current tests involve populations of a 20 to 50 trees). As trees grow, they give off fragments of song as a side effect to their growth.’

Ever wondered what L-systems might sound like? Pawful are already looking into genetic programming using L-systems to produce pattern music.


Mosumi – Metaphorical

Am enjoying the work at metaphorical, a repository of reactive and pattern orientated ‘computational enchantments’. The Form section contains some interesting interactive pattern/illusion works. Discs 1, 2 and 3 approximate the visual interference and disturbance patterns often encountered in traditional optical illusions through interactivity. Other colour/shape modulations such as Squares 1 and 2 and Wave remind us of the subtle geometries of Vasarely and Riley. Elsewhere in the Nature sections we find some consummate programmatic dealings with l-systems, some generative snowflakes and the Garden of Eichstätt, a meeting of a 17th century botanical book with some present-day computational botany. Explore the whole site!

Metaphysical Crystallography


Socialfiction, our favourite repository for experimental and algorithmic psychogeography memes has posted some great new ideas. Check out THE CRYSTAL-PUNK MANIFESTO – ‘Inorganic Strategies/Crystalline Tactics’. It comes across like an algorithmic TAZ lattice – which is a great place to be! The Crowd Crystallization Application looks alluring – we can only hope that it’s a kind of cellular automatic path finding crystallographic orienteering tool and art device! Or perhaps the app doesn’t really ‘exist’ at all?

As I mentioned once before on dataisnature, the algorithmic code co-ordinates of cellular automata and L-systems are an obvious entrée into computation psychogeography and Socialfiction seems to be exploring this path with great fervour! Further Socialfiction is taking it upon itself to express the ‘mind-derive’ with the unfolding $tring theory of algorithmic dreaming! Nice.