Generative works that produce output labelled as poetry sometimes beg the question whether it really is or not. Poetry enjoys a cultural mystique that evokes reverence towards this literary mode and resistance to anything generated or somehow automated. After all, if a poem is a trail through the wilderness of thought and human experience (i.e. Rip Rap), would we want to follow a path carved by a computer program? I like to think that cyborg poets (what else can we call those machines built out of human and machine languages, that carry out instructions that crystallize intentions?) can build trails that lead us to surprising and rewarding places.
I don’t know whether Tisselli was thinking of “Synonymovie” as a poem or not, but it is interesting for me to think of it as such because it a language centered experience. The kind of exploration that this work generates is a path through cyberspace powered by dictionaries and search engines, words and images. And it leads us to reflect on the relations between chosen words with an attention that we’ve come to expect from poetry.