“Cannibal Dreams” by Lacy Cunningham and Justin Talbott

“Cannibal Dreams” by Lacy Cunningham and Justin Talbott

This elegant hypertext poem consists of 28 links arranged on an excerpt from a book on bone biology. The links are barely distinguishable from the rest of the text, yet lead to poetic language that forms a distinctive contrast to the scientific text in the paragraph. The relation between the two texts isn’t simply tonal counterpoints: they are deeply interconnected, metaphorically and especially thematically. One key to understanding these relations is in the first link, which leads to the image below:

This diagram maps a relationship, showing alternatives paths a couple can take when faced with the kind of situation described in the scientific text. See where the paths lead and you’ll note recurring elements, most of which are not positive for the health of the relationship.

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“Little Book of Prompts” by Sylvanus Shaw

Screen capture of "Little Book of Prompts" by Sylvanus Shaw. A series of virtual pages floating in fixed position, among them a crossword puzzle. Text: "(one page cropped out of view) / RORSCHACH CROSSWORD / Part One / IX. Sequence Problem / _ Y _ _ R _ _ N"
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This work prompts readers to write according to a set of poetic constraints, offering original, famous, and obscure forms and examples. The interface offers a series of virtual pages floating in fixed positions in space, and allowing readers to tilt them, zoom in and out, and flip them over to read the examples on their verso. A close examination of its yellowed pages reveals barely perceptible ink marks from handwriting on the other side, but that information is missing when one flips the page. Why evoke such physicality in the pages?

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“Nomen Sacrum Trial” by Sylvanus Shaw

Screen capture of “Nomen Sacrum Trial” by Sylvanus Shaw.  Three rectangular tiles - a gray one in the middle with text written on it, and a black one on each side also with text on them.
Open “Nomen Sacrum Trial” by Sylvanus Shaw

This “psychometric trial” prompts readers to explore their sacred name through manipulation of the “lettered sieve” an infinite set of language constructed as follows:

For the following trial, imagine the alphabet, followed by, in alphabetical order, all permutations of pairs of letters of the alphabet, followed by all permutations of triples of letters of the alphabet, followed by quadruples, and so on for quintuples, sextuples, and so on. Let us call this infinite set of letters a ‘Lettered Sieve.’ Possessing a working concept of the Lettered Sieve is essential to completing the first seven parts of the trial.

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“Essay” by judsoN

Screen capture from "Essay" by judsoN.  Image of a typical online article. Black text against a white background. Text: "Revolving around identity: Object Indoctrinating our Control/ 2008, Regina De Boulange, M.A., Ph.D, boulange@yale.edu/ KEYWORDS: education, thought, pluralistic, thought, qulia, subverting, signifying/ INTRODUCTION/ Several errors locally commodify in our professional, and some symptomatic systems are experimental. Manifold replacements seamlessly involve. The vector-time basedly sends no anxiousness experimentally. Their semantic is the distinction. Should their objectively fakely fornicate the language, while their magnificent lust urbanly communicates with byte?/ A marketshare rules, and result hoods reify with whom? Contemporary signifiers publicly condemn need drenchedly, although the synthesized arts consult globally
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This work of generative Internet art presents an essay to readers that reads like an essay written by a graduate student that has done nothing but read Postmodern theory for years. The result might be brilliant, nonsensical— perhaps both— but it exists on a different reality as the rest of the world’s and is likely to have little impact on anything. You might as well pump all that high theory into a machine and put together a little program to produce some semi-random output from that lexicon and then see if readers will read the results at face value.

For this piece to have any function at all, requires a mind that is eager to project meaning onto experience. If we expect an experience to be meaningless, our minds certainly do not bother to piece together the chaos of clues that make the world comprehensible. With Chomsky’s famous pseudo-sentence “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.” for example, we undergo an initial attempt to identify a meaningful message. Convincing the mind to choose at the crossroads between potential comprehensibility and inevitable noise is an important task.

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“Unravel” by Agnieszka Michalska

Screen capture from "Unravel" by Agnieszka Michalska. Background is image of a wheat field with a solitary word written in the middle on white text. Text: "UNRAVEL"
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This scheduled poem plays like a silent video composed of a series of photographs of a wheat field in the background and kinetic language in the foreground. The text unfolds through a series of transformations of words by moving letters around into to form other words, and letter substitutions that create rapid word sequences. Timing is all in this poem, which could be organized internally by the speed at which its words are transformed and the means by which they change from one to the next. Notice the speed at which a sequence of four letter words change through letter substitution, forming a stream of associations, and the emphasis this gives to the pause at the end. Contrast this to the longer words that transform into other words by moving letters around, emphasizing each word and its meaning as moments with a thematic charge that punctuates the poem.

Allow this short poem to loop and read it a few times to allow its thematic and visual coherence to sink in.

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“@Jhave2” by David Jhave Johnston

Screen capture of "@Jhave2" by David Jhave Johnston. Twitter profile of David Jhave Johnston displaying his most recent tweets. Text: "digital poet. he tweets only when he gets a new friend who is not a bot. his tweets (since 2010) are always 140 characters and never reference much of reality. / Why breed bread? Has it not succumbed to rabid synthetic cybernetic virtuality? Don't touch it. Port to bits each bit of being. Bake shadows / I am just trivial as any other organism; perhaps more so. For I have seen tender suns rising inside the mind and still shit and scurry home"
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For the past three years, Jhave has been using his Twitter account as a platform for a poetic constraint. Whenever a person follows him (that is, not a ‘bot) he writes a tweet poem that is exactly 140 character long. As one can see in All My Tweets, he had started this practice before, but committed to it on February 8, 2010— “continuing the anti-pragmatic stance of twitting (doesn’t that sound absurd?) only whn followed by a non-robot and always with exact letters”— and has since adhered strictly to the constraint.

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“Feral C” by Mez Breeze

Screen capture from "Feral C" by Mez Breeze. Arrangement of profile pictures for the accounts associated with the work: Text: "GOSSAMA, HUD_B, SHADOW, QUENTIN READA"
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This work is a series of live Twitter performances of characters, each of which has an account and interacts in this social network to form what Breeze describes as a “socumentary.”

“A “socumentary” is an entertainment form that merges Choose Your Own Adventure /Alternate Reality Drama/Social Game and Social Networking conventions. The result is a type of synthetic mockumentary that exists entirely within social media formats.

“#OutsideUrDoor” by Mez Breeze


“@samplereality” by Mark Sample

Open “@samplereality” by Mark Sample

Mark Sample has disappeared from Twitter, or has he? The link above leads to an archive of all his Tweets, which reference his final tweets, ostensibly from a Dulles airport that was sealed up by FEMA, including a link to an video of him sending a message to his wife and family, that “the book is not what they think it is.” What is this book and what is the whole situation about?

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“Injections” by Paul Bogaert

Screen capture of "Injections" by Paul Bogaert. Two nurses tend to a bed-ridden patient. No text.
Open “Injections” by Paul Bogaert

This video poem is composed from footage of a “Dream Hospital” newsreel, video clips from a nursing documentary from 1942 (also used in Bogaert’s “You’re Lying and You Filter,” Bogaert’s lines of verse (translated from Dutch by John Irons), voice-over recordings, and ambient sounds. Bogaert’s text and editing bring together short looped video clips to create a whole new narrative about an absurd experimental treatment, made particularly surreal by voice-overs of poetic language that barely fits the visual context provided by the video. The short looped clips are edited and to create an illusion of narrative continuity, which makes is more disconcerting, because there is nothing natural in identical bodily movements associated with different speech content, not to mention the repeated injections that the patient is subjected to.

I just hope they’re able to free the bird.

Featured in ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature.

Read more about this work at ELMCIP.