RE: [-empyre-] Welcome Jim Andrews re: Electronic Poetry

> > How do you see the relation of a work like Babel to digital poetry, Simon? And
> > what roles do you
> > see programming playing in the piece?
> -----
> I think a previous post I just sent might constitute a response to your
> question as to the role of programming in art in general.

Yes. Though there are various roles I want to explore in the essay.

In looking at your Babel, I came across the following in Steve Dietz's introduction (where he
quotes you):

"Computers both produce the material we experience and allow us to access it. The computer is a
language machine. ...Turing simply defined the computer as a machine that could be any machine.
It could be this because it was programmable - as such, operating symbolically upon symbolic
things. This universe of symbolic forms includes the computer itself, and the recursive aspect
of the medium is what leads to its real technological and therefore social power. To paraphrase
Turing, the computer is the medium that can be any medium."

It so happens that the first sentence of the next section of the essay I will post begins with
the sentence "Computers are language machines."

> Babel and digital poetry? Babel's subject is taxonomy and how we catalogue,
> value and navigate knowledge (or not). It is also about people's point of
> view and what happens when we can all see things from everyone's point of
> view at the same time...the effects on identity as the interplay between
> individual and collective, self and other, is disrupted.
> In this respect Babel is one big association machine, functioning on at
> least two levels (hopefully more), as above. Following from this, as
> association is a fundamental of poetics then I regard Babel as poetic in its
> strategies and hopefully its effects. Visually it is also composed of only
> (Dewey Decimal) numbers, which are part of the alpha-numeric palette and
> thus of language. For me it is a form of visual or concrete poetry, at this
> level.

Yes, that's how it seemed to me also.

Your Babel project is conceptually rich and also a strong experience, Simon. It's also a great
example of the way that visual or concrete poetry can be extended through the digital into
relation with programming.

> Babel also contains meta-coding that auto-generates code as required (using
> the auto-text generator I developed for Great Wall of China

I tried to view the Shockwave of the Great Wall of China but it isn't loading.

> but here applied
> to the code itself instead of an output text for the viewer to read - mind
> you, Great Wall also used meta-coding like this...why write the code when
> the computer can write it for you as needed?). From my point of view
> auto-generated meta-coding is poetry, but only for the computer to read
> directly. The rest of us have to make do with the derivatives.

Frédéric Durieu said something related to your comments:

"...the aim of all this is to create poetry. So, I like to speak about algorithmic poetry. A
poem is a text that procures you poetry if you read it. The code I'm trying to write is a text
that procures you poetry if a computer reads it for you...."

There is an art of programming that is related to the ideas of Knuth in his "The Art of
Programming" but that is a big book of algorithms and complexity analysis, ie, it is applied
mathematics. It's only part of the art of programming. As Durieu says, and you imply, "...the
aim of all this is to create poetry." And Knuth doesn't exactly cover that territory, and it's
part of the art of programming, part of the art of writing.


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