“Poemita” by Eduardo Navas

Open 'Poemita' by Eduardo Navas
Open ‘Poemita‘ by Eduardo Navas

Poemita by Eduardo Navas is an online collection of micropoems published on the Twitter platform which Navas began in January 2010, and which he has continued publishing up to the present day. Navas locates Poemita within his broader portfolio of projects that he has developed with ‘random brief statements’ (http://navasse.net/poemita/), and each tweet constitutes an individual poem, based around keywords that Navas has brainstormed.

Poemita can be classified within the growing genre of Twitter poetry, of which there are now hundreds of examples worldwide, including Canadian author Jason Camlot’s tickertext1 and tickertext2 (2010), the collaborative poetry project using Twitter by Australian author Gavin Heaton, TwitterPoetry (2007-), and the Twitter Poetry competition organized by Marsha Berry and Omega Goodwin in 2009. In these and other examples, the formal aspects of Twitter – in particular, the restriction to a maximum of 140 characters – is a central feature. Sharing certain features with the Japanese tradition of the haiku –and indeed, with the neologism twaiku sometimes being used to describe this type of poetry – Twitter poetry sees the formal restriction to 140 characters as a productive, creative one, leading to the possibility of capturing moments or images with a particular intensity.

Although each of the tweets within Navas’s Poemita are individual micropoems in their own right, when reading them in conjunction a shared set of thematics and concerns emerge. The micropoems all deal with contemporary society and forms of expression. Some poems comment on new media technologies themselves; others lend themselves to considerations of the poetic medium; still others make implicitly political statements related to digital content.

Frequent within these micropoems is commentary on new media technologies themselves. Examples here can be seen in the tweet of 15 August 2012 that reads:

Here, the brevity of the utterances means that greater focus is given to the adjective and noun with which the poem begins; the fact that the noun and its qualifying adjective are pre-posed, in non-standard syntax, means that our attention is drawn to ‘instant gratification’ as the central image of this micropoem. This micropoem is thus a critique of the instant celebrity culture promoted by social media, and the increasing narcissism that constant updates, via platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, encourages. Yet at the same time it is, of course, a metatextual poem, since the writing of ‘aphoristic fragments’ is exactly what Poemita undertakes: the micropoem thus engages in a critique of its own medium, as we see in many of Navas’s other works.

We are, thus, not allowed to sit back and enjoy as we read Poemita; instead, we are encouraged to question our own stance as users of social media as we engage in our reading.

 

“NRA Tally (@NRA_Tally)” by Mark Sample

Tweets Following Followers 159 0 24 NRA Tally @NRA_Tally Keeping score of the NRA's greatest hits. Fairfax, Virginia everyadage Kathi Inman Berens Brett O'Connor Alex Gil Followed by everyadage, Kathi Inman Berens, Brett O'Connor and 2 others. NRA Tally ‏@NRA_Tally 38m 30 postal workers killed in San Francisco with a AR-15 assault rifle. The NRA steps up lobbying efforts. Details NRA Tally ‏@NRA_Tally 4h 22 restaurant diners murdered in Jacksonville with a 10mm Glock. The NRA reports a fivefold increase in membership.
Open “NRA Tally (@NRA_Tally)” by Mark Sample

Created in the wake of a mass shooting event in Isla Vista, California, this bot takes aim at the National Rifle Association and the rhetorical strategies it uses to protect the industry and gun culture it lobbies for. He accompanied it with a manifesto titled “A protest bot is a bot so specific you can’t mistake it for bullshit: A call for bots of conviction” in which he invites the creation of bots which are “topical, data-based, cumulative, and oppositional” (here’s an updated version). He also explains how his bot @NRA_Tally meets these characteristics and goes into great detail on the data sources that inform the bot’s generation of murderous hypothetical scenarios, such as this one:

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@godtributes by @deathmtn

Open "@godtributes" by @deathmtn
Open “@godtributes” by @deathmtn

Poetry is traditionally conceived as a refined, patterned and stylised language produced by skilled writers and orators. Not so for twentieth-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger. His highly influential and counter-intuitive philosophy, encapsulated in the dictum “language speaks man”, suggests that poets do not make poetry, but poetry poets. It is not a question of self-expression, but of “listening” for language’s “call”. According to Heidegger, this “call” takes us beyond the “mortal” towards the “heavenly”, “the Unknown One”, “god”. I wonder, then, what he would make of @godtributes, a charming little Twitter bot that “listens” to your tweet and “calls” it out back to you, transformed into an (ir)reverent tribute to an incidental, aleatoric deity.

Read more@godtributes by @deathmtn

Computer Poetry by Silvestre Pestana

Open "Computer Poetry" by Silvestre Pestana
Open “Computer Poetry” by Silvestre Pestana

In the 1980s, the world saw the introduction of personal computers (PCs). While the first creative stage of electronic literature took advantage of mainframe computers, only accessible in institutional environments, the context in which Silvestre Pestana created his first computer poems was totally different – a new wave Pedro Barbosa ironically calls “poesia doméstica” [domestic poetry] (1996: 147). With personal computers, Silvestre Pestana programmed in BASIC, first for a Sinclair ZX-81, and then, already with chromatic lighting, for a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, three poems respectively dedicated to Henri Chopin, E. M. de Melo e Castro and Julian Beck, which resulted in the Computer Poetry (1981-83) series. Pestana, a visual artist, writer and performer – who had returned from the exile in Sweden after Portugal’s Carnation Revolution of April 25, 1974 – brought diverse influences put forward with photography, video, performance, and computer media. From his creative production, it should be emphasized the iconic conceptual piece Povo Novo [New People] (1975), which was remediated by the author himself in the referred series of kinetic visual poems, “video-computer-poems” (Pestana 1985: 205) or “infopoems” (Melo e Castro 1988: 57). By operating almost like TV scripts, the series oscillates between recognizable shapes – such as the oval and the larger animated Lettrist shapes, formed by the small-sized words “ovo” (egg), “povo” (people), “novo” (new), “dor” (pain) and “cor” (color) – and the reading interpretation of the words themselves: “ovo,” the unity, but also the potential; “povo,” the collective, the indistinct, the mass; “novo” and “cor/dor.” This play of relations translates the new consciousness, although painful, of a “new people” in a new historic, social and artistic period, one of freedom and action. In an interview, Pestana (2011) claimed having researched more than thirty languages, only to find in Portuguese the possibility of traversing the singular and the plural, the individual and the collective, the past, present and future, by just dislocating a letter: ovo/(p)ovo/(n)ovo.

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@DependsUponBot, @JustToSayBot, and @BlackBoughBot by Mark Sample

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Open @BlackBoughBot, @DependsUponBot, & @JustToSayBot by Mark Sample

This trio of bots by Mark Sample present riffs on three of the most famous poems of the early Twentieth Century: William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow” and “This Is Just to Say,” and Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro.” The bots generate new versions of the poems by randomly altering most of the open word classes while keeping the basic syntax, meter and lineation intact, tweeting a new mutation once every two hours (though at the time of writing @DependsUponBot has been inactive since December 2014, for reasons unknown —editor’s note: it has now resumed operations). To my mind, the pleasure of these bots’ tweets lies in the discrepancy between the familiarity of the syntactical structure and the limit-case absurdity of the randomly generated content. For example, the sublime juxtaposition Pound presents the reader –

Read more@DependsUponBot, @JustToSayBot, and @BlackBoughBot by Mark Sample

“Word Crimes” by Weird “Al” Yankovic and Jarrett Heather

"Word Crimes" by Weird "Al" Yankovic
Open “Word Crimes” by “Weird Al” Yankovic and Jarrett Heather

“Word Crimes”  is an official music video designed and animated by Jarrett Heather for “Weird Al” Yankovic.  The video uses kinetic typography and evocative visual images to reinforce the didactic tone.  The song is a parody of Robin Thicke’s own “Blurred Lines” employing its catchy tune, lyric structure, and even typography (as in the case of the hashtags) repurposed tosatirizes common ways that language is used incorrectly in writing.

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“Deal With It” Meme by Matt Furie and You

Deal-With-It-Skateboarding-Cat-Gif“Deal with it” is a meme based on a popular phrase or expression that uses image macros and/or animated GIFs as a snarky response when someone else notes disapproval, most frequently used online forums or social networks. This meme is characterized by an image of an iconic person, celebrity, or event, accompanied by the descending of sunglasses upon the subject’s face and revealing a caption which says “Deal with it.”

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“Bust Down the Doors!” by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries

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Open “Bust Down the Doors! by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries. Versions: English, German, French

“Bust Down the Doors!”, a videopoem by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, opens with a countdown, preparing the reader to the challenge he or she is about to encounter. Quick flashing words that compose the poem begin to blink in and out of the screen, daring the reader to catch each word properly and keep up to rhythm. The contrast of the black letters against a white background creates an almost hypnotizing pattern to this race. This format is repeated in all three different language versions, which are English, German, and French.

Read more“Bust Down the Doors!” by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries

”Debaser” by Pixies

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Open “Debaser” video by Pixies

Pixies is an alternative rock band from Boston, Massachusetts, originally formed in 1986. The band started releasing music videos after their second studio album Doolittle in 1989, but ‘’Debaser,” the first track of this album, wasn’t released as a single until 1997. This is the only one of their videos, to date, to feature kinetic typography.

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Slenderman, The Marble Hornets, and Totheark

slenderman-1-708110Remember those chain emails your most obscure contacts would send you during the wee hours of the night that read something like “IF U DON’T FWD DIS A CREEPY CRAWLY GHOST OF A GIRL WILL COME OUT OF DA CLOSET AND KILL U” ?

Well they’re back. And they’re coming to get you for not forwarding all those emails.

Read moreSlenderman, The Marble Hornets, and Totheark

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