This generative poem attacks marketing on several levels: the generative poem in the center of the page does so thematically, the banners that surround it conform to standards for Web advertising banners, and Portuguese commercial slogans are cut up and remixed to expose their underlying messages.
This last strategy is inspired by the Situationist practice of détournement— revealing some of the ideological content that is difficult to notice when posed as a catchy phrase. Marketing slogans use of language in many of the same ways as poetry (such as compression, rhyme, meter, alliteration, and visual design) but to sell products rather than for artistic purposes. Situationists and Concrete poets like Décio Pignatari sought to reclaim visual language from commercial use, notably in his “Anti-Advertisement,” a famous détournement of Coca Cola’s Portugese (and Spanish) slogan.
Is Torres quoting Pignatari by using several shades of red in the banners?
One thing to consider as we read the generated poems and slogans while they change every few seconds, is that the poem in the center coheres better than the slogans, which rapidly reveal its capitalist values. Consider the message of the remixed slogans in the still image above (my translation, clockwise from the top): “Science belongs to us,” “Delicious Spectacle,” “Moved by technology,” and “The discovery that saves.” Positively Machiavellian.
If you can’t read Portuguese, I suggest clicking on the @ sign, signing and sending the current iteration to a blog Torres has set up to gather the output of generative works. Then run the output through a translator to get a sense of the ideas presented, as I did with “Viva semanas” (“Live Weeks”) running its text through Google Translate:
Notconsumption.It isrhythm– moneybold pauseit touches. The power ofplagiotropiais deep– absoluteoblivion. There are things thatthe carddoes not inspire– for all otherisdevouring. Movedby the war –For the pleasure ofparody– advertisinginspires us. Images thatcanbind –Generationin motion– eccentriccallingevery week. Appearin your dreams! Withcredit, alltransports– goodenoughpure have iscoming. CriesofViva! It feels good togrowandso little glueis real: Foampricing because lifeis rare!
Note how the poem critiques advertising as “binding” and associating it with consumption, hunger, and endless devouring of merchandise and credit. The original word for “glue” in the antepenultimate line is “Cola,” once again echoing Pignatari’s poem.
Go read the poem, generate your own iteration, and discover more of Torres’ critique of marketing in the digital age.