“Bullet” and Poem without Suffering

A bullet
Discussed in this review: “Bullet,” David Byrne, American Utopia, Nonesuch, 2018; Poem without Suffering, Josef Kaplan, Wonder Books, 2015

David Byrne’s earworm takes a distant yet close perspective, describing a bullet’s fatal encounter with a human body. Did he know about Kaplan’s similar short, rapid, book-length poem? Byrne’s song sets its sights on an adult man, Kaplan’s poem on a child. The life of the child is hinted by describing what a warm maternal relationship is like, and by mentioning injuries from falling off a bunk bed and being hit by a baseball. We hear about the man’s life because of what the bullet cuts through: “Skin that women had touched,” “Many fine meals he tasted there,” “his heart with thoughts of you.” The general description is very effective. There are striking metaphors — positive associations — for the bullet itself, also. In Poem, it is a triumphant runner (such as Usain Bolt, who bears the name of a crossbow’s projectile) dragging gore from the body as if it were a trophy or banner. In “Bullet,” it is “Like an old grey dog / On a fox’s trail.” Perhaps America’s reliable old dog cannot be taught new tricks.

American Utopia · Poem without Suffering

Concise Computational Literature is Now Online in Taper

I’m pleased to announce the release of the first issue of Taper, along with the call for works for issue #2.

Taper is a DIY literary magazine that hosts very short computational literary works — in the first issue, sonic, visual, animated, and generated poetry that is no more than 1KB, excluding comments and the standard header that all pages share. In the second issue, this constraint will be relaxed to 2KB.

The first issue has nine poems by six authors, which were selected by an editorial collective of four. Here is how this work looked when showcased today at our exhibit in the Trope Tank:

Weights and Measures and for the pool players at the Golden Shovel, Lillian Yvonne-Bertram
“Weights and Measures” and “for the pool players at the Golden Shovel,” Lillian Yvonne-Bertram
193 and ArcMaze, Sebastian Bartlett
“193” and “ArcMaze,” Sebastian Bartlett
Alpha Riddims, Pierre Tchetgen and Rise, Angela Chang
“Alpha Riddims,” Pierre Tchetgen and “Rise,” Angela Chang
US and Field, Nick Montfort
“US” and “Field,” Nick Montfort
God, Milton Läufer
“God,” Milton Läufer

This issue is tiny in size and contains only a small number of projects, but we think they are of very high quality and interestingly diverse. This first issue of Taper also lays the groundwork for fairly easy production of future issues.

The next issue will have two new editorial collective members, but not me, as I focus on my role as publisher of this magazine though my very small press, Bad Quarto.

Using Electricity readings, with video of one

I’m writing now from the middle of a four-city book tour which I’m on with Rafael Pérez y Pérez and Allison Parrish – we are the first three author/programmers to develop books (The Truelist, Mexica, and Articulations) in this Counterpath series, Using Electricity.

I’m taking the time now to post a link to video of a short reading that Allison and I did at the MLA Convention, from exactly a month ago. If you can’t join us at an upcoming reading (MIT Press Bookstore, 2018-02-06 6pm or Babycastles in NYC, 2018-02-07 7pm) and have 10 minutes, the video provides an introduction to two of the three projects.

Rafael wasn’t able to join us then; we are very glad he’s here from Mexico City with us this week, and has read with us in Philadelphia and Providence so far!

Author Function

The exhibit Author Function, featuring computer-generated literary art in print, is now up in MIT’s Rotch Library (77 Mass Ave, Building 7, 2nd Floor) and in my lab/studio, The Trope Tank (Room 14N-233, in building 14, the same building that houses the Hayden Library). Please contact me by email if you are interested in seeing the materials in the Trope Tank, as this part of the exhibit is accessible by appointment only.

There are three events associated with the exhibit happening in Cambridge, Mass:

February 7, 6pm-7pm, a reading and signing at the MIT Press bookstore. Nick Montfort, Rafael Pérez y Pérez, and Allison Parrish.

March 5, 4:30pm-6pm, a reception at the main part of the exhibit in the Rotch Library.

March 5, 7pm-8pm, a reading and signing at the Harvard Book Store. John Cayley, Liza Daly, Nick Montfort, and Allison Parrish.

In addition to a shelf of computer-generated books that is available for perusal, by appointment, in the Trope Tank, the following items of printed matter are displayed in the exhibit:

  • 2×6, Nick Montfort, Serge Bouchardon, Andrew Campana, Natalia Fedorova, Carlos León, Aleksandra Małecka, and Piotr Marecki
  • A Slow Year: Game Poems, Ian Bogost
  • Action Score Generator, Nathan Walker
  • American Psycho, Mimi Cabell and Jason Huff
  • Anarchy, John Cage
  • Articulations, Allison Parrish
  • Autopia, Nick Montfort
  • Brute Force Manifesto: The Catalog of All Truth, Version 1.1, Series AAA-1, Vol 01, Brian James
  • Clear Skies All Week, Alison Knowles
  • Firmy, Piotr Puldzian Płucienniczak
  • for the sleepers in that quiet earth., Sofian Audry
  • From the Library of Babel: Axaxaxas Mlo – The Combed Thunderclap LXUM,LKWC – MCV – The Plaster Cramp, Christian Bök
  • Generation[s], J.R. Carpenter
  • Google Volume 1, King Zog
  • How It Is In Common Tongues, Daniel C. Howe and John Cayley
  • Incandescent Beautifuls, Erica T. Carter [Jim Carpenter]
  • Irritant, Darby Larson
  • Love Letters, Letterpress Broadside, Output by a reimplementation of a program by Christopher Strachey
  • Mexica: 20 Years – 20 Stories / 20 años – 20 historias, Rafael Pérez y Pérez
  • My Buttons Are Blue: And Other Love Poems From the Digital Heart of an Electronic Computer, A Color Computer
  • My Molly [Departed], Talan Memmott
  • no people, Katie Rose Pipkin
  • Phaedrus Pron, Paul Chan
  • Puniverse, Volumes 32 and 38 of 57, Stephen Reid McLaughlin
  • Re-Writing Freud, Simon Morris
  • Seraphs, Liza Daly
  • The Appearances of the Letters of the Hollywood Sign in Increasing Amounts of Smog and at a Distance, Poster, David Gissen
  • The Poiceman’s Beard is Half Constructed: Computer prose and poetry by Racter
  • The Truelist, Nick Montfort
  • Tristano, Nanni Balestrini
  • Written Images, Eds. Matrin Fuchs and Peter Bichsel

Here are some photos documenting the exhibit:

Author Function Rotch main display case

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Author Function book displays and gallery walls

Sentaniz Nimerik, E-Lit in Haitian Creole

A week ago, on October 2, we put Sentaniz Nimerik online. This is an electronic literature work, an example of digital storytelling and digital poetry, that is by Sixto & BIC and was facilitated by Michel DeGraff & Nick Montfort. It is in Haitian Creole — Kreyòl, as the language is called in the language itself. This language has a community of about 12 million speakers worldwide and is the language shared by everyone in Haiti. It is not the same as Haitian French or mutually intelligible with Haitian French (or any other kind of French).

You can read more about Maurice Sixto, a famous Haitian storyteller who died in 1984, on Wikipedia, in English — of course there is an entry in Haitian Creole as well. His story “Sentaniz,” well-known in Haiti, is the storytelling basis for our digital work.

BIC is a singer, songwriter, and poet who is also known as B.I.C. (Brain. Intelligence. Creativity.) He came to MIT to work on this project with us and to do a concert, which was very well-attended. His songs and poems are mostly in Haitian Creole; some in French; not in English — although BIC is fluent in English and has worked as an English teacher.

Professor Michel DeGraff is a linguist and is my colleague at MIT. Among other things, he heads the MIT-Haiti Initiative and works to advance STEM education in the Boston area in schools where education is in Haitian Creole.

We (BIC, Michel DeGraff, and I) sat down together and looked at and discussed several simple JavaScript poems, some historical, some of mine, some done by others recently. We settled on “Through the Park” (a work of mine from 2008) as a starting point for our collaboration. We changed several things about the workings of the page, and the text used in this piece is also a new text related to “Sentaniz,” not any sort of translation of anything I have written.

To make concrete a few of the formal and conceptual differences: The final result has two generated versions presented one after the other. The underlying “story” is not only an story that originated in Haitian Creole, but has been elaborated into its digital version with frame statements and questions that do not correspond to anything in “Through the Park.” The visual design is simple, but also a bit different from the simple earlier version.

To be more specific about our roles in the project, for the most part I dealt with the JavaScript code, Michel typed in what was to be written in Haitian Creole (using my different keyboard layout), and BIC said what lines we should use. But Michel and BIC consulted about particular phrasings, as you might expect, and all of us talked a bit about the types of sentences that could be used, the linguistic constraint (no reference between sentences), and the design and functioning of the page.

We spent a while in discussion beforehand, and did some work to polish the project after the three of us met, but BIC was only at MIT for one full day. It took us about an hour to actually do the core creative and development work on Sentaniz Nimerik. The project was thanks to many people and offices at MIT, with the main support for BIC’s trip coming from CAMIT, the Council for the Arts at MIT.

I recorded a video of Michel DeGraff explaining the piece (in Haitian Creole) and have posted that on YouTube with a CC license. He explains how to “view souce” and that the piece can be studied and modified. The piece itself, although very short, is released under an explicit all-permissive license to make it clear that it is available to everyone for any purpose. I hope people in Haiti and speakers of Haitian Creole elsewhere will enjoy it and develop many new ideas, stories, and poems.

The Gathering Cloud

The Gathering Cloud, J. R. Carpenter, 2017
The Gathering Cloud, J. R. Carpenter, 2017. (I was given a review copy of this book.)

J.R. Carpenter’s book is an accomplishment, not just in terms of the core project, but also by virtue of how the codex is put together. The introduction is by Jussi Parikka, the after-poem by Lisa Robertson. While social media and ethereal imaginations of the network keep us from being lonely as a cloud these days, they obscure the material nature of computing, the cost of linking us in terms of wire and heat. Carpenter’s computer-generated Generation[s] was concerned with the computational production of text; The Gathering Cloud also engages with the generation of power. This book and the corresponding digital performance, for instance at the recent ELO Festival in Porto, yields up the rich results of research, cast in accomplished verse. As with Carpenter’s other work that is rooted in zines and the handmade Web, it is personal rather than didactic. Deftly, despite the gravity of the topic, the book still affects the reader with a gesture, not a deluge of facts — more by waving than drowning.

C-Creativity, my talk at the KDD workshop on ML and Creativity

Update: I have posted 360 video of my talk with subtitles. If you rotate it, you don’t have to look at the large brown pillar that is in “front” the whole time. Previously: Here are my slides from “C-Creativity: Cultural Creativity or, Why is there no middle C?,” the talk I just gave in Halifax. There are no text notes, and they don’t represent what I said very closely, but if they remind people who were there of my comments, that’s great. And if they provoke any questions, feel free to get in touch on the blog or by email.

My @party Talk on Computer-Generated Books

I just gave a talk at the local demoparty, @party. While I haven’t written out notes and it wasn’t recorded, here are the slides. The talk was “Book Productions: The Latest in Computer-Generated Literary Art,” and included some discussion of how computer-generated literary books related to demoscene productions.


Sliders front cover, with battlements

My minimal book Sliders has been published by my press, Bad Quarto. The book contains 32 poems, some of which are only one word long. In a break from tradition, they are not computer-generated.

Currently Sliders is only available for sale at the MIT Press Bookstore, 301 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, Mass.

Sliders back cover, with blurbs

Salon 256 on May 1

SALON 256 is a forum for presentation and discussion of very small creative computer programs. Such programs have featured in digital art and poetry, electronic literature, computer music, and the demoscene.

YOU are invited to present a tiny program of yours:

Monday May 1 . 5pm-7pm . MIT’s 14E-304

Presenters already confirmed:

  • Mike “Dr.Claw” Piantedosi
  • Angela Chang
  • Sofian Audry
  • Nick Montfort
  • Chris Kerich
  • Willy Wu
  • Henry Lieberman
  • Doug Orleans

Programs in an interpreted language are fine, as long as the code is 256 bytes or less; compiled programs with an executable file of 256b or less are fine, too.

Building 14 also holds the Hayden Library and is not Building E14.
If you’d like to present, leave a comment or sign up at the event.

A Purple Blurb / The Trope Tank production.

Tiny Trope Tank Productions

Recently, at the suggestion of our writer in residence, Milton Läufer, we in the Trope Tankt have been producing digital files for discussion at meetings. These productions, almost always computer programs but not constrained to be such, must be at most 256 bytes.

It’s been extremely productive in terms of thinking about digital media, platforms and programming languages, and how we approach creative projects — and even other projects — generally. Postdoctoral researcher Sofian Audry prompted us to discuss this some at the last meeting.

So far we have three sets of 256b files which have landed in this directory, organized by date and with file names that indicate who wrote what:


They include work by RA Chris Kerich, who has produced rather demoscene-like visual effects using Python running in a terminal, and by postdoctoral researcher Angela Chang, who has provided short example programs for use in teaching. Angela’s examples show that you don’t have to have hypercompressed, confused code when you write short, interesting programs. You can value clarity and pedagogical usefulness if you like, or you can pack in as much as possible, for instance, in order to produce a visual effect.

Sofian has explored creative computing history by writing a 256b Commodore 64 BASIC program that implements, or at least strongly refers to, the classic Lemonade Stand BASIC program. Milton has generated various compelling visual displays. His and Chris’s most recent programs are less clearly mathematical and regular, instead imitating the natural world.

It was very apropos that Christian Bök pointed me to Dwitter, a framework for making tiny programs that can be easily shared on the Web, just recently. I’m sure we’ll all dig into that soon.

My pieces include one bash script, one Python 3 program, and an executable of 256b written in assembly for the Commodore 64. The Python 3 program is actually a very tiny text adventure, Wastes, and is listed on the Interactive Fiction Database. In fact, I’m pleased to see that at this point, it has one four-star (our of five) review!

Multisequential Books in the Trope Tank

_Love is not Constantly Wondering if you are Making the Biggest Mistake of your Life_. Portland, OR: Perfect Day Pub, 2011.

_Roflcon III_. Cambridge, MA: Self Published, 2012.

Bottke, Allison, Heather Gemmen Wilson, Gary Locke. _Friend or Freak_. Colorado Springs, CO: Faith Kidz, 2004.

Ball, Jonathan. _Ex Machina_. Toronto: BookThug, 2009.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Bourbaki, Nicholas. _If_. Livingston, AL : Livingston Press, the University of West Alabama, 2014.

Burk, Jeff. _Super Giant Monster Time!_ Portland, OR: Eraserhead Press, 2010.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Carr, Mike. _Robbers and Robots_. New York: Random House, 1983.

Castillo, Ana. _The Mixquiahuala Letters_. New York, NY: Anchor Books, 1992.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Clarke, Miranda. _Night of a Thousand Boyfriends_. Philadelphia, PA: Quirk Books, 2003.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Coover, Robert. _Heart Suit_. San Francisco: McSweeney’s Books, 2005.

Danielewski, Mark Z. _House of Leaves_. London: Doubleday, 2000.

Danielewski, Mark Z. _Only Revolutions_. New York: Pantheon Books, 2006.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

DeVault, Christine, Ian Akin. _Too Soon for Sex?_ Santa Cruz, CA: Network Publications, 1989.

Dever, Joe, Gary Chalk. _Flight from the Dark_. New York: Berkley Books, 1985.

Donihe, Kevin L., Carlton Mellick III. _Ocean of Lard_. Portland, OR: Eraserhead Press, 2005.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Dubuc, Joey. _Neither Either Nor Or_. Montreal: Conundrum Press, 2003.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Dworkin, Craig Douglas, David Wolske, Emily Tipps, Claire Taylor, Chris Dunsmore, Robert Buchert, Laurence Sterne. _Chap. XXIV_. Salt Lake City, UT: Red Butte Press, 2013

Emerson, Hunt, Pat Mills. _You are Maggie Thatcher: a Dole-Playing Game_. London: Titan Books, 1987.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

English, James H. _Escape From Fire Island!_ Philadelphia, PA: Quirk Books, 2003.

EnJoe, Toh, Terry Gallagher. _Self-Reference Engine_. San Francisco : Haikasoru, 2013.

Erdich, Lauren, Sierra Nelson. _I Take Back the Sponge Cake_. Brookline, MA: Rose Metal Press, 2012.

Estes, Rose. _Dragon of Doom_. New York: Random House, 1983.

Estes, Rose. _Dungeon of Dread_. New York: Random House, 1982.

Estes, Rose. _Hero of Washington Square_. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR Hobbies, 1983.

Giffin, Lawrence. _Non Facit Saltus_. Troll Thread, 2014.
(Available free online)

Giffin, Lawrence. _Quod Vide_. Troll Thread, 2014.
(Available free online)

Glickman, Bob. _Work Sucks! A Hilarious Guide to Choosing or Changing Your Career_. Los Angeles: CCC Publications, 1992.

Harris, Neil Patrick. _Choose Your Own Autobiography_. New York: Crown Archetype, 2014.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Hefter, Richard, Martin Moskof. _The new original shufflebook_. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1978.

Hemmingson, Michael. _The Classics Professor_. New York: Gotham Books, 2003.

Johnson, B.S. _The Unfortunates_. New York: New Directions Pub., 2007.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Knechtel, John. _Suspect_. London: MIT Press, 2006.

Kurtz, Joe. _Die: roll to Proceed_. New York: Mind the Art Entertainment, 2012.

Levy, Robert Joseph. _The Suicide King_. New York: SSE/Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2005.

MacDonald, Mike, Jilly Gagnon. _The Holidays_. New York: Diversion Books, 2016.

MacDonald, Mike, Jilly Gagnon. _The Office Adventure_. New York: Diversion Books, 2016.

Maden, Svend A?ge, W Glyn Jones. _Days with Diam_. Norwich, England: Norvik Press, 1994.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Matthews, T.J. _The Hunting Safari_. Orlando: Wycliffe, 2003.

McElhatton, Heather. _Pretty Little Mistakes_. London: Headline Review, 2008.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Mohanraj, Mary Anne. _Kathryn in the City_. New York: Gotham Books, 2003.

Montgomery, R.A. _Danger Zones_. New York: Bantam, 1987.

Montgomery, R.A. _Your Very Own Robot_. Waitsfield, VT: Chooseco, 2007.

Nabokov, Vladimir. _Pale Fire_. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1962.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Newman, Kim. _Life’s Lottery_. London: Simon & Schuster, 1999.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

North, Ryan, William Shakespeare. _Poor Yorick_. Breadpig, 2013.

North Ryan, William Shakespeare. _Romeo and/or Juliet_. Riverhead Books, 2014.

North Ryan, William Shakespeare. _To be or not to be_. Breadpig, 2013.

Olsen, Lance. _Theories of Forgetting_. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: FC2, The University of Alabama Press, 2014
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

O’Toole, Cate. _Oh My Darling_. New York: Black Lawrence Press, 2015

Packard, Edward. _Deadwood City_. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1978.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Packard, Edward. _Inside UFO 54-40_. New York: Bantam, 1982.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Packard, Edward. _Journey to the Year 3000_. New York: Bantam Books, 1987.

Packard, Edward. _La Supercomputadora_. Buenos Aires: Editorial Atla?ntida, 1986.

Packard, Edward. _Sunken Treasure_. New York: Bantam Books, 1982.

Packard, Edward. _Supercomputer_. New York: Bantam, 1984.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Packard, Edward. _The Cave of Time_. New York: Bantam Books, 1979.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Packard, Edward. _Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey?_ New York: Bantam Books, 1981.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Pavic?, Milorad, Christina Pribic?evic?-Zoric?. _Dictionary of the Khazars: A Lexicon Novel_. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Powers, Bob. _You are a Miserable Excuse for a Hero!_. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Griffin, 2008.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Queneau, Raymond. _Exercises in Style_. New York: New Directions, 1981.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Roseman, Kenneth. _Escape from the Holocaust_. New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1985.

Ruckdeschel, Liz, Sara James. _What if… All Your Dreams Came True_. New York: Delacorte Press, 2009.

Ruckdeschel, Liz, Sara James. _What if… All Your Friends Turned on You_. New York, NY: Delacorte Press, 2009.

Ruckdeschel, Liz, Sara James. _What if… Everyone Knew Your Name_. New York, NY: Delacorte Press, 2006.

Ruckdeschel, Liz, Sara James. _What if… Everyone Was Doing It_. New York, NY: Delacorte Press, 2008.

Ruckdeschel, Liz, Sara James. _What if… You Broke All the Rules_. New York, NY: Delacorte Press, 2007.

Ruckdeschel, Liz, Sara James. _What if… Your Past Came Back to Haunt You_. New York, NY: Delacorte Press, 2008.

Ryman, Geoff. _253: The Print Remix_. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1998.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Saporta, Marc, Richard Howard. _Composition No. 1_. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1963.

Sewell, Justin. _Who Killed John F. Kennedy?_. Despair, Inc., 2013.

Shiga, Jason. _Knock Knock_. 2006.

Shiga, Jason. _Meanwhile_. New York, New York: Amulet Books, 2010.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Shiga, Jason. _The Last Supper_. 1997.

Snyder, Laurel. _Daphne and Jim_. Portland, OR.: Burnside Review Press, 2005.

Tija, Sherwin. _You are a Cat!_ Pick-a-Plot! Book #1. Written and illustrated by Sherwin Tija. Montreal: Conundrum Press, 2011.

Tija, Sherwin. _You are a Cat in the Zombie Apocalypse!_ Pick-a-Plot! Book #2. Written and illustrated by Sherwin Tija. Montreal: Conundrum Press, 2013.

Tija, Sherwin. _You are a Kitten!_ Pick-a-Plot! Book #3. Written and illustrated by Sherwin Tija. Montreal: Conundrum Press, 2015.

Webster, Emma Campbell. _Lost in Austen_. New York: Riverhead Books, 2007.

Weinersmith, Zach. _Trial of the Clone_. Breadpig Inc., 2012.

Wilgus, Alison. _A Stray in the Woods_. New York: Alison Wiglus, 2013.

Zimmerman, Eric, Nancy Nowaceks. _Life in the Garden: A Deck of Stories_. New York, New York: Razorfish Studios, 1999.

Youngmark, Matt. _Zombocalypse Now_. Seattle: Chooseomatic Books, 2009.

Youngmark, Matt. _Thrusts of Justice_. Seattle: Chooseomatic Books, 2012.

Happy New Year 2017

My New Year’s poem for 2017 is Colors, a 1KB Web page, online at http://nickm.com/poems/colors.html and here it is, too:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html style="overflow:hidden">
<head><meta charset=utf-8>
<!-- Copyright (c) 2016 Nick Montfort <nickm@nickm.com>   2016-12-31, 1KB

Copying and distribution of this file, with or without modification,
are permitted in any medium without royalty provided the copyright
notice and this notice are preserved. This file is offered as-is,
without any warranty.

Click pauses, Add ?00f000 or similar to URL for the specified color.-->
<script type=text/javascript>
var c = 0, i;
function up() {
 if (c > 16581375) { c = 0; }
 document.body.style.background = "#"+("00000"+c.toString(16)).slice(-6);
 c += 1;
function pause(e) {
 if (i) { clearInterval(i); i = 0; } else { go(); }
function init() {
 var s = window.location.search;
 if (s.slice(0, 1) === '?') { c = parseInt(unescape(s.slice(1)), 16); }
function go() { i = window.setInterval(up, 5); };
<body onload=init() onmousedown=pause(event)>
<div style="width:100vw; height:100vh"></div>

As the code says, you can add an argument in the URL to start with a particular color, such as medium gray:


Click to stop on a particular color that you especially like. Click again to continue moving through the colors. If you let it run, you’ll see all 16581375 colors in just over 23 hours.

Happy new year.

Digital Lengua, the launch of 2×6 and Autopia, Nov 20 in NYC

Clouds of Digital Lengua palabras

Digital Lengua – Babycastles, 137 West 14th St, Manhattan –
5:30pm Sunday November 20

This reading of computer-generated literature in English and Spanish
serves as the global book launch for two titles:

Nick Montfort, Serge Bouchardon, Andrew Campana, Natalia Fedorova,
Carlos León, Aleksandra Ma?ecka, Piotr Marecki
Les Figues, Los Angeles: Global Poetics Series
256 pp.

Nick Montfort
Troll Thread, New York
256 pp.

Montfort will read from these two books, reading English and Spanish
texts from 2×6. Paperback copies will be available for purchase. The
short programs that generated these books are printed in the books and also
available as free software online.

Läufer will read from his projects Bigrammatology and WriterTools™, in
both cases, in Spanish and English.

Montfort and Läufer will read from work done as part of the Renderings
project and as part of another project, Heftings.

The Renderings project, organized by Montfort and based at his
lab, The Trope Tank, involves locating computational literature (such as
poetry generating computer programs) from around the globe and translating
these works into English. Läufer and Montfort will read from two
Spanish-language poetry generators, from Argentina and Spain, and from
translations of them.

The Heftings project, also organized by Montfort through The
Trope Tank, involves making attempts, often many, at translating conceptual,
constrained, concrete & visual, and other types of literary art that are
generally considered to be impossible to translate. Montfort and Läufer will
read from some short works that are originally in Spanish or English and
works that have Spanish or English translations.

Nick Montfort develops computational art and poetry, often
collaboratively. His poetry books are #!, Riddle & Bind, and
he co-wrote 2002: A Palindrome Story and 2×6. His
more than fifty digital projects, at http://nickm.com, include the
collaborations The Deletionist, Sea and Spar Between, and the
project. His collaborative and individual books from the MIT
Press are: The New Media Reader, Twisty Little Passages, Racing the Beam,
10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10,
and most recently Exploratory
Programming for the Arts and Humanities.
He lives in New York and
Boston, offers naming services as Nomnym, and is a professor at MIT.

Milton Läufer is an Argentinian writer, journalist and teacher.
Currently he is doing a PhD at New York University focused on digital
literature in Latin America. He is the 2016-2017 writer-in-residence of
The Trope Tank
, MIT. In 2015 he published Lagunas, a partially
algorithmic-generated novel, which —as most of his work— is available online
at http://www.miltonlaufer.com.ar. He has participated in art exhibitions in
Latin America, the US and Europe. He lives in Brooklyn.

Digital Lengua – Babycastles, 137 West 14th St, Manhattan – 5:30pm Domingo, Noviembre 20

Esta lectura de literatura generada por computadora en español e inglés
oficiará, a la vez, de lanzamiento para los siguientes dos títulos:

Nick Montfort, Serge Bouchardon, Andrew Campana, Natalia Fedorova,
Carlos León, Aleksandra Ma?ecka, Piotr Marecki
Les Figues, Los Angeles: Global Poetics Series
256 págs.

Nick Montfort
Troll Thread, New York
256 págs.

Montfort leerá de ambos libros, en español e inglés para el caso de
. Habrá copias impresas disponibles para su compra. Los breves
programas que generan el código se encuentran en dichos libros y también en
línea como software libre (y gratuito).

Läufer leerá de sus proyectos Bigrammatology y WriterTools™, en español e inglés en ambos casos.

Los autores leerán también de los trabajos realizados en el marco de los
proyecto Renderings y Heftings.

El proyecto Renderings, organizado por Montfort con base en su
laboratorio, The Trope Tank, involucra la búsqueda de literatura
computacional (tal como poesía generada por programas de computadora) a lo
largo del globo y la traducción de estos proyectos al inglés. Läufer y
Montfort leerán de dos generadores de poesía en español, uno de Argentina y
otro de España, así como sus traducciones.

El proyecto Heftings, también organizado por Montfort a través de
The Trope Tank, consiste en la producción de intentos, a menudo
muchos, de traducir obras literarias conceptuales, formalistas, concretas o
visuales tales que son generalmente consideradas imposibles de traducir.
Montfort y Läufer leerán algunos trabajos breves originalmente en español o
inglés y trabajos que poseen traducciones españolas o inglesas.

Nick Montfort desarrolla arte y poesía computacional,
frecuentemente en colaboración. Entre sus libros se destacan #!,
Riddle & Bind
y Autopia; y, en colaboración, 2002: A
Palindrome Story
y 2×6. Entre sus más de cincuenta proyectos
digitales, en http://nickm.com, se encuentran las colaboraciones The
, Sea and Spar Between y Renderings, un
proyecto centrado en la traducción. Sus libros de MIT Press son The New
Media Reader
, Twisty Little Passages, Racing the Beam,
10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10
y, recientemente, Exploratory
Programming for the Arts and Humanities
. Vive en New York y Boston,
ofrece servicios de nombres como Nomnym, y es un profesor en MIT.

Milton Läufer es un escritor, periodista y docente argentino.
Actualmente se encuentra realizando un PhD en la New York University acerca
de literatura digital in América Latina. Es el escritor en residencia de
The Trope Tank
para el período 2016-2017, en MIT. En 2015 publicó la
novela generada parcialmente por algoritmos Lagunas, la cual —como el
resto de su obra el literatura digital— es accesible desde su sitio,
http://www.miltonlaufer.com.ar. Ha participado de exposiciones en América
Latina, Estados Unidos y Europa. Vive en Brooklyn.


Trope Tank Writer in Residence

The Trope Tank is accepting applications for a writer in residence during academic year 2016-2017.

The Trope Tank, 3 August 2016

Our mission is developing new poetic practices and new understandings of digital media by focusing on the material, formal, and historical aspects of computation and language. More can be discovered about the Trope Tank here:


The main projects of the Trope Tank for 2016-2017 are Renderings and Heftings, as I’ve described for a forthcoming article in _Convolutions 4_:

> The **Renderings** project is an effort to locate computational
> literature in languages other than English — poetry and other
> text generators, combinatorial poems, interactive fiction, and
> interactive visual poetry, for example — and translate this work
> to English. Along the way, it is necessary to port some of this
> work to the Web, or emulate it, or re-implement it, both in
> the source language and in English. This provides the original
> language community better access to a functioning version
> of the original work, some of which originates in computer
> magazines from several decades ago, some of which is from
> even earlier. The translations give the English-language
> community some perspective on the global creative work that has
> been undertaken with language and computation, helping
> to remedy the typical view of this area, which is almost always
> strongly English-centered.

> **Heftings,** on the other hand, is not about translation into
> English; the project is able to include translation between any
> pair of languages (along with the translation of work that is
> originally multilingual). Nor does it focus on digital and computational
> work. Instead, Heftings is about “impossible translation” of all
> sorts — for instance, of minimal, highly constrained,
> densely allusive, and concrete/visual poems. The idea is that
> even if the translation of such works is impossible, attempts at
> translation, made while working collaboratively and in conversation
> with others, can lead to insights. The Heftings project
> seeks to encourage translation attempts, many such attempts
> per source text, and to facilitate discussion of these. There is no
> concept that one of these attempts will be determined to be the
> best and will be settled upon as the right answer to the question
> of translation.

The Trope Tank’s work goes beyond these main projects. It includes developing creative projects, individually and collaboratively; teaching about computing, videogaming, and the material history of the text in formal and informal ways; and research into related areas. Those in the Trope Tank have also curated and produced exhibits and brought some of the lab’s resources to the public at other venues. The lab hosts monthly meetings of the People’s Republic of Interactive Fiction and occasional workshops.

There are no fees or costs associated with the residency; there is also no stipend or other financial support provided as part of the appointment. A writer in residence has 24-hour access to and use of the Trope Tank, including space to work, power and network connection, and use of materials and equipment. As a member of the MIT community, a writer in residence can access the campus and check out books from the MIT Libraries. We encourage our writer in residence to attend research and creative discussions and join us in project work and other collaborations, but this is not expressed with a particular requirement to be in the Trope Tank some amount of time per week.

To apply, email me, Nick Montfort, at moc.mkcin@mkcin with short answers (in no case to exceed 250 words each) to the following questions:

– What work have you done that relates to computation, language and literature, and the mission of the lab? Include URLs when appropriate; there is no need to include the URLs when counting words.

– How would you make use of your time in the Trope Tank? You do not have to offer a detailed outline of a particular project, but explain in some way how it would be useful to you to have access to the materials, equipment, and people here.

– What is your relationship, if any, to literary translation, and do you see yourself contributing to Renderings, Heftings, or both? If so, how?

– What connections could you potentially make between communities of practice and other groups you know, either in the Boston area or beyond, and the existing Trope Tank community within MIT?

Include a CV/resume in PDF format as an attachment.

Applications will be considered beginning on August 15; applicants are encouraged to apply by noon on that day.

We value diverse backgrounds, experiences, and thinking, and encourage applications by members of groups that are underrepresented at MIT.

Computer-Generated Books

Here’s a first effort (drafted, initially, at 2am on July 22) at a bibliography of computer-generated books.

These are books in the standard material sense, somehow printed, whether via print-on-demand or in a print run. I may include chapbooks eventually, as they certainly interest me, but so far I have been focusing on books, however bound, with spines. (Updated June 23, 2017: I added the first chapbooks today.) Books in any language are welcome.

So far I have not included books where the text has been obviously sorted computer (e.g. Auerbach, Reimer) or where a text has been produced repeatedly, obviously by computer (e.g. Chernofsky). Also omitted are computer-generated utilitarian tables, e.g. of logarithms or for artillery firing. Books composed using a formal process, but without using a computer, are not included.

I have included some strange outliers such as books written with computational assistance (programs were used to generate text and the text was human-assembled/edited/written) and one book that is apparently human written but is supposed to read like a computer-generated book.

I’d love to know about more of these. I’m not as interested in the thousands of computer-generated spam books available for purchase, and have not listed any of these, but let me know if there are specific ones that you believe are worthwhile. I would particularly like to know if some of the great NaNoGenMo books I’ve read are available in print.

Updated 11:43am July 22: Since the original post I have added Whalen, Tranter, Balestrini, and five books by Bök. 5:35pm: I’ve added Thompson and Woetmann. 8:37am July 23: Added Bogost. 8:37pm July 24: Added Bailey, Baudot, Cabell & Huff, Cage x 2, Huff, Hirmes. October 12-14: Added Archangel, Seward, Dörfelt. June 12, 2017: Added Morris, Pipkin. June 23: Added Clark, Knowles 2011, The Maggot, and four chapbooks: Knowles & Tenney, Parrish, Pipkin (_picking figs…_), Temkin. September 5: Added Mize.

Archangel, Cory. _Working on my Novel._ New York: Penguin, 2014.

Bailey, Richard W. _Computer Poems._ Drummond Island, MI: Potagannissing Press, 1973.

Balestrini, Nanni. _Tristano._ Translated by Mike Harakis. London and New York: Verso, 2014.

Baudot, Jean. _La Machine a écrire mise en marche et programmée par Jean A. Baudot._ Montréal: Editions du Jour, 1964.

Bogost, Ian. _A Slow Year: Game Poems._ Highlands Ranch, CO: Open Texture, [2010].

Bök, Christian. _LXUM,LKWC (Oh Time Thy Pyramids)._ San Francisco: Blurb, 2015.

Bök, Christian. _MCV._ San Francisco: Blurb, 2015.

Bök, Christian. _Axaxaxas Mlo._ San Francisco: Blurb, 2015.

Bök, Christian. _The Plaster Cramp._ San Francisco: Blurb, 2015.

Bök, Christian. _The Combed Thunderclap._ San Francisco: Blurb, 2015.

Cabell, Mimi, and Jason Huff. _American Psycho._ Vienna: Traumavien, 2012.

Cage, John. _Anarchy (New York City, January 1988)._ Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1988.

Cage, John. _I-IV._ Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990.

Carpenter, J. R. _GENERATION[S]_ Vienna: Traumawien, 2010.

Cayley, John and Daniel C. Howe, _How it Is in Common Tongues._ Providence: NLLF, 2012.

Cayley, John. _Image Generation._ London: Veer Books, 2015.

Chamberlin, Darick. _Cigarette Boy: A Mock Machine Mock-Epic._ [Seattle]: Rogue Drogue: 1991.

Chan, Paul. _Phaedrus Pron._ Brooklyn: Badlands Unlimited, 2010.

Clark, Ron. _My Buttons Are Blue and Other Love Poems from the Digital Heart of an Electronic Computer._ Woodsboro, Maryland: Arcsoft Pub, 1982.

Daly, Liza. _Seraphs: A Procedurally Generated Mysterious Codex._ [San Francisco]: Blurb, 2014.

Fuchs, Martin and Peter Bichsel. _Written Images._ 2011.

Hartman, Charles and Hugh Kenner. _Sentences._ Los Angeles: Sun and Moon Press, 1995.

Heldén, Johannes and Håkan Jonson. _Evolution._ Stockholm, OEI Editör, 2014.

Hirmes, David. _Directions From Unknown Road to Unknown Road._ [Handmade edition of 10.] The Elements Press: 2010.

Huff, Jason. _Autosummarize._ [McNally Jackson]: 2010.

Kennedy, Bill and Darren Wershler-Henry. _Apostrophe._ Toronto, ECW Press, 2006.

Kennedy, Bill and Darren Wershler. _Update._ Montréal: Snare, [2010.]

Knowles, Alison, James Tenney, and Siemens System 4004. _A House of Dust._ Köln & New York: Verlag Gebr. Ko?nig, 1969.

Knowles, Alison. _Clear Skies All Week._ Onestar Press, 2011.

Larson, Darby. _Irritant._ New York and Atlanta: Blue Square Press, 2013.

Maggot, The. _Heroic Real Estate Otter of the 21st Century._ lulu.com, 2013.

Mize, Rando. _Machine Ramblings._ n.p., 2016.

Montfort, Nick. _World Clock._ Cambridge: Bad Quarto, 2013.

Montfort, Nick. _Zegar światowy._ Translated by Piotr Marecki. Krakow: ha!art, 2014.

Montfort, Nick. _#!_ Denver: Counterpath, 2014.

Montfort, Nick. _Megawatt._ Cambridge: Bad Quarto, 2014.

Montfort, Nick, Serge Bouchardon, Carlos León, Natalia Fedorova, Andrew Campana, Aleksandra Malecka, and Piotr Marecki. _2×6._ Los Angeles: Les Figues, 2016.

Morris, Simon. _Re-writing Freud._ York, England: Information as Material, 2005.

Parrish, Allison. _The Ephemerides._ Access Token Secret Press, 2015.

Pipkin, Katie Rose. _picking figs in the garden while my world eats Itself._ Austin: Raw Paw Press, 2015.

Pipkin, Katie Rose. _no people._ Katie Rose Pipkin, 2015.

Racter, _The Policeman’s Beard is Half Constructed._ Illustrations by Joan Hall. Introduction by William Chamberlain. New York: Warner Books, 1984.

Rosén, Carl-Johan. _I Speak Myself Into an Object._ Stockholm: Rensvist Förlag, 2013.

Dörfelt, Matthias. _I Follow._ Series of unique flip-books with computer-generated aspects of animation. Made by the artist. 2013-present.

Seward, Rob. _Death Death Death._ VHS Design LLC, 2010.

Temkin, Daniel. _Non-Words._ Edition of 100, each with unique words generated by same algorithm used in @nondenotative. n.d.

Thompson, Jeff. _Grid Remix: The Fellowship of the Ring._ San Francisco: Blurb, 2013.

Tranter, John. _Different Hands._ North Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1998.

Walker, Nathan. _Action Score Generator._ Manchester: if p then q, 2015.

Whalen, Zach. _An Anthrogram._ Fredericksburg, Virginia: 2015.

Woetmann, Peter-Clement. _105 Variationer._ Cophenhagen: Arena, 2015.