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.

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

Thursday 27 October 2016, 10:34 pm   ////////  
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:

2×6
Nick Montfort, Serge Bouchardon, Andrew Campana, Natalia Fedorova, Carlos León, Aleksandra Ma?ecka, Piotr Marecki
Les Figues, Los Angeles: Global Poetics Series
http://lesfigues.com/book/2×6/
256 pp.

Autopia
Nick Montfort
Troll Thread, New York
http://trollthread.tumblr.com/post/152339108524/nick-montfort-autopia-troll-thread-2016-purchase
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 Autopia; 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 Renderings 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:

2×6
Nick Montfort, Serge Bouchardon, Andrew Campana, Natalia Fedorova, Carlos León, Aleksandra Ma?ecka, Piotr Marecki
Les Figues, Los Angeles: Global Poetics Series
http://lesfigues.com/book/2×6/
256 págs.

Autopia
Nick Montfort
Troll Thread, New York
http://trollthread.tumblr.com/post/152339108524/nick-montfort-autopia-troll-thread-2016-purchase
256 págs.

Montfort leerá de ambos libros, en español e inglés para el caso de 2×6. 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 Deletionist, 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.

 

Interactive Fiction Hits the Fan

Saturday 31 March 2012, 5:03 pm   //////  

Although a recent IF tribute to a They Might Be Giants album might help to delude some people about this, interactive fiction these days is not about fandom and is unusually not made in reference to and transformation of previous popular works.

An intriguing exception, however, can be found in the just-released Muggle Studies, a game by Flourish Klink that takes place in the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter. The player character is of the non-magical persuasion, but gets to wander, wand-free, at Hogwarts, solve puzzles, and discover things that bear on her relationship with her ex-girlfriend. You can play and download the game at the Muggle Studies site.

Apollo 18+20, a Tribute to an Album in Interactive Fiction

Monday 26 March 2012, 1:15 pm   //////  

The organizer of the People’s Republic of Interactive Fiction, Kevin Jackson-Mead, has organized and co-written a tribute to the 1992 They Might Be Giants Album, Apollo 18. At the PR-IF site, you can play and download 38 short games corresponding to every song (including the “Fingertips” songs) on the album. With its retro cachet, it may be today’s version of Dial-a-Song:

Apollo 18+20.

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