“When You Reach Kyoto” by Brian Kim Stefans and Geniwate

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Open: “When You Reach Kyoto” by Brian Kim Stefans and Geniwate

This collaborative work is built using Geniwate’s (Australian writer Jenny Weight’s nom d’ordinateur) “concatenation engine” and Stephans’ images and text. This “page space” is a computational upgrade to the cut-up, because in addition to randomly joining lines of verse, it cuts them further and places them in different positions of the page, creating multiple lines and readings of the same text. The gorgeous oversaturated images of urban and natural landscapes serve as a backdrop for an explosion of letters in different font sizes and lines of free verse, all of which serve as links to the next piece of the concatenation. The sound clips are nowhere nearly as pleasant as Brian Eno’s “Burning Airlines Give You So Much More,” which has a line that inspired the title of this poem, and perhaps some of its postcard-like visual design and conceptual language choices, such as the frequent use of “you,” “she,” and references to writing.

Note: The link above leads to an page that calls up the Shockwave file in a page that has two problems:

  1. It has an error in its code that doesn’t allow it to open in Firefox, Chrome or Safari— only Internet Explorer.
  2. The embedded Shockwave file is set to stretch to 100% of the screen size, which perhaps made sense in the early 2000s when computer screens had lower resolution and had a more square aspect ratio, but it becomes very skewed in contemporary screens.

I recommend viewing the version published in the Electronic Literature Collection, instead, though it may slightly different, after reading the artists’ statement in the original link.

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