[-empyre-] what i've been up to the last few years

Jim Andrews jim at vispo.com
Mon Mar 16 21:06:27 EST 2009

my work is mainly http://vispo.com . i've been publishing this site since 
1996. i'm a writer, programmer, audio guy, and visual artist. and, even 
prior to the web, had been looking for other literary avenues than the 
little mag and book route. i produced a literary radio show in the 80's that 
aired around canada on campus/community stations. and organized and hosted a 
live readings series. and tried my hand at publishing a literary mag--one 
issue of And Yet. too expensive. and it more or less was necessarily solely 
pacific northwest. i'd wanted to learn more about weird poetry from around 
the world. so when the web happened, i felt it was like gawd's little 
toenail dropped in my lap. a way to combine my literary impulses/pulses in 
programming, audio, text, and image. and a way to communicate with others 
trying to do something different. cuz they'd go there too. and they did, 
many of them.

also, an alternative to the little mag and book route of canadian poetry. an 
international alternative. an alternative that was not bucolic. a 
forward-looking alternative. a way to create work that few could. a way to 
publish it better than any publisher could. a way to communicate freely with 
others around the globe interested in doing related stuff. o ya. that was 
the way to go. a way to look at poetry in a hundred years if we still have 
networks in a hundred years.

http://vispo.com contains my work and some excellent work by a few others. 
such as the work of the late ana maria uribe of argentina. and some early 
computer poetry by bpNichol and geof huth. and some work by the seattle 
poets joseph f. keppler and margareta waterman. and finland's marko niemi. 
and dan waber. and collaborations with lionel kearns, pauline masurel, brian 
lennon, and various other works.

over the past few years, i've been doing work that is as much 'visual art' 
or 'audio art' as 'poetry'. you see the way the below pieces combine visual 
art, audio art, poetry, and programming. let it not be said that there are 
no innovative web sites of literary interest. vispo.com *is* my 'book'--in 
the sense that it is the body of my work, a published thing.

here is the work i've done during the last several years.



here's my most recent project. it's in progress; i've been working on it for 
three years.

it's called dbCinema. it's a graphic synthesizer. i'm writing it in adobe 
director. there are screenshots of dbCinema in action at 
http://vispo.com/dbcinema/meditations.htm . these are 1280x1024 screenshots 
from movies generated by a newer version of dbCinema than is currently 
online. most of these were produced by typing in the title of the series 
(such as "Kandinsky"). dbCinema then downloads images from the net somehow 
related to what was typed in and generates a painterly movie from those 
pictures. the above graphics are screenshots from the resulting movies.

here's a streaming video of a talk i gave recently in vancouver about 
dbCinema: http://vispo.com/dbcinema/video/vantalk . here's something i wrote 
about a part of dbCinema: http://vispo.com/dbcinema/kandinsky3/intro . this 
also contains a screenshot of the dbCinema interface.

what does this have to do with digital poetry? well, there is a poetical 
side to it. you create 'brushes'. and assign each brush a concept. you type 
the concept into dbCinema. dbCinema then downloads images from the net 
somehow related to the concept and uses those images as 'paint' for the 
brush. also, there is a text brush.

there's a very early version of dbCinema at http://vispo.com/dbcinema . this 
is more like 'dbSlideshow' than 'dbCinema'. in this version, you can only 
type a concept in and dbCinema then does a net search for related images and 
presents those in a slideshow. so it's simply a superior google+yahoo image 
search client. but, to me, this is not art. it's what you do with those 
images that's interesting as art. i wanted to take it to 'dbCinema'. now i 
have. the recent version of the executable is not online. it does stuff you 
can't do in a browser app. so it's a projector, not a shockwave piece. and 
i'm not releasing the executable for a while, but the screenshots are, in 
themselves, interesting art. dbCinema produces types of images i doubt 
you've seen before.


this is a piece that's related to dbCinema. it's at 
http://vispo.com/nio/pens . it's related in that here we have a piece that 
works with multiple 'nibs' or 'brushes'. you can view the shockwave 
interactive piece itself or screenshots of the pen in action. there's a 
toolbar at the bottom of the interactive piece that lets you configure the 
thing in all sorts of ways.


http://vispo.com/jig is an interactive audio piece. link sound icons 
together with blue lines to make them play sequentially. or link sound icons 
with green lines to make them play simultaneously. you can copy a bunch of 
them by clicking and dragging around a bunch, to select the bunch, and then 
pressing the "copy" button. all my vocals, at this point. several 'heaps' of 
audio. sort of musical. sort of sound poetry. whatever.

this piece is in progress. i've been working on this since 
http://vispo.com/nio in 2000.


http://vispo.com/arteroids is an online shoot-em-up poetry game. the battle 
of poetry against itself and the forces of dullness. there's a play mode and 
a game mode. in game mode your scores are saved and uploaded to the net. and 
you can't play level n+1 before you've played level n (there are 216 levels 
of play). whereas in play mode you can play any level you like, your scores 
are not saved, and you have control over various other parameters such as 
whether the marauding texts can kill you. you can also use 'word for 
weirdos' to create your own texts and save poetry from yourself. i've been 
working on this on and off since 2000.


http://vispo.com/writings/index.htm#ssays contains many essays on digital 
writing and new media/language.


http://vispo.com/kearns is a backward look at a forward-looking writer. 
lionel kearns produced some very prescient work in the 
sixties-through-eighties highly relevant to contemporary digital poetics. 
'on lionel kearns' is a contemporary wreading of his work, a binary 
meditation on his work and its relation to the contemporary. i did this 
piece in 2004.


http://vispo.com/mw is a collaboration with the seattle poet margareta 
waterman. it's an interactive audio piece. there's basically no english in 
this. it's all sound poetry. and the interface is in the international 
language of interface design. so it's perfectly understandable if you fart 
around with it for a while and discard your expectations about poetry.


http://vispo.com/stevens is an interactive audio piece. a random audio 
reordering of wallace stevens's venerable poem 'the idea of order at key 

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