I recently answered a series of interesting questions about ppg256, questions that pertained to digital preservation among other issues.
I just wanted to share the one that I thought about the longest. Although I care deeply about properly addressing issues of energy use, recycling, and ethical sourcing of computer components, I think that there are some problems with putting a great deal of weight on these when one is specifically in digital art and digital poetry contexts. I was asked:
What effect does the environment, both location and ecology, have on the
work? Does it have long term implications such as power usage, recycling,
etc? Are those addressed in the work itself?
And I replied:
Centrally, my project is to show that computer programs can be poetic. The
ppg256 programs can be run on any computer; they do not require a museum,
gallery, proprietary operating system or Apple Store. So, practically anyone
with access to computing can run them at any location. The development and
running of computational poetry, to be honest, is not killing our
environment. The mindset that computers are for business, war, and science
but cannot be used to make poems and art does risk — to be honest —
killing our future.
I’ve read a few books of poetry recently that I found particularly interesting, so why not mention them here?
Man Years by Sandra Doller. Beautifully damaged utteraces that are highly unusual, resonant with known ways of speaking, and allusive. E.g., in the poem “Eggphrasis,” which begins “eggs / eggs / baby”.
The Container Store by Joe Hall and Chad Hardy. Urban space is explored, and its commercial division and compartmentalization. The typography is compelling, with black blocks often occluding the text like the blind eyes of office buildings.
Meditations 1-52 by Matthew Klane. Also quite engaged politically, also quite well-done typographically, but in another interesting mode. Includes a list of things Vannevar Bush did not invent.
I have two new digital pieces (one a collaboration) that have just been published by James O’Sullivan’s New Binary Press:
Round is a computational poem that is non-interactive, deterministic, and infinite (boundless), since it simply substitutes text fragments for the digits 0-9 and presents a representation of the digits of pi. See the note for further information, and if the concept intrigues you at all, please, run the piece for a while.
Duels — Duets, by Stephanie Strickland and Nick Montfort, was developed after Stephanie suggested we write something about collaboration based on our experience developing Sea and Spar Between. We co-created a combinatorial poem based formally on A House of Dust by Alison Knowles and James Tenney, producing about the amount of text that was requested of us for print publication.
Now, if you just click on that link, you’ll be taken to that page on the Web. To get to the Worl page, you’ll need to install The Deletionist bookmarklet and, once you get to the Web page, click on it. If the page is exactly the same as when I viewed it (it may change, as it’s a wiki front page) you can be sure that your Worl page looks the same as mine did — we’re both looking into the same Worl.
This is Nick Montfort's blog about interactive narrative, imaginative and poetic digital writing, the material history of computational media, video and computer games, and other stuff he likes. Nick has a plain old website, too.