[-empyre-] View Recent Changes

Daniel Lichtman danielp73 at gmail.com
Tue Nov 17 08:17:41 AEDT 2020

Hello Empyre Community,

I wanted to follow up on Matt’s post introducing View Recent Changes, and
ask the artists about a few specific elements of this project that really
stand out to me.

First, about “I’m Feeling Lucky”, which consists of an infinitely-long
seeming list of grammatically incomplete phrases and sentence fragments,
each of which link to an automatically generated group of images. Each
phrase individually reads as part of a poem (“are curled around a”, “sky
with no clouds”, “lightly covered by”, “wearing green”…), and when clicked,
opens up to an assortment of images that preset a disparate set of loosely
related, but often pointed, visual references and connections (ex: "was
part of", https://recentchanges.ca/File:Part_of.png). This made me think of
Teju Cole’s 2013 article in the New Inquiry, Google’s Macchia (
https://thenewinquiry.com/blog/googles-macchia/), in which Cole explores
Google’s then new search-by-image feature, and the idea that the algorithm
could uncover aspects of visual style, contextual connections among images,
and visual and historical references that would otherwise remain unknown to
an individual. It also makes me think of platforms like Instagram Story and
TikTok, which automatically curate endless compositions of user-supplied
images for us to consume (and, for many people today, probably one of the
main formats for engaging with visual storytelling). Could you guys tell us
about this piece? For example, how you see the relation between human and
AI generated poetry? What happens when visual references that draw on our
own, personal associations with (for example braided hair and snake curled
around a stick in the entry for “curled”), are collected and remixed by the

In “I’m not sure I remember all of our names / No estoy seguro en nuestros
nombres”, a letter that appears to address a number of avocado plants
solicits contributions of story, anecdote and poetry from a wide range of
acquaintances. The content of the letter and contributed texts traverse
political borders, patterns of migration, indigenous and colonial
histories, geologic epochs, and the subjectivities/objecthood of plants,
animals and humans. I’d love to hear more about this very gamut of
subject-matter! Perhaps you could talk about how you used the wiki format,
and its focus on categories, links, embedded media and collective editing
to compose this far reaching narrative.

I would also love to hear more about the collaborative process that went
into “Goose Cakes”, and “A Hostility Index”, both of which I also found
really interesting.

Looking forward to hearing from some of the participants in View Recent


PS - More projects for this month coming soon!
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