“@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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“Know Poems” by Jason Edward Lewis, Bruno Nadeau, et. al.

 

“Know Poems” by Jason Edward Lewis, Bruno Nadeau, Christian Gratton, David Jhave Johnston, J.R. Carpenter, Jason Camlot, Jerome Fletcher, and Loss Pequeño Glazier.

The first version of the Know app was named after, designed for, and published a single poem: Lewis’ “Buzz Aldrin Doesn’t Know Any Better.” For version 2.0, he commissioned five poets to produce new poems with the authoring system. Here are some noteworthy observations on how they mapped out the app’s parameters.

  • David Jhave Johnston went to two minimalist extremes: using single word lines to produce a legible sentence while limiting the effect of the touch interface to two words in “4 Pound” (depicted above), and by using touch to make words move on such wide orbits that they effectively disappear.
  • J.R. Carpenter uses the structure to create a kind of semantic word cloud full of binary opposites in “Twinned Notions,” and in “up from the deep” conceptually maps the interface as a sea of words which the reader can pull maritime themed verse out into readability with touch and drag gestures.
  • Jason Camlot’s “Debaucher’s Chivalric Villanelle” draws connections between the repetitive structure of the villanelle and the repetitions of lines that occur because of the challenges of having overlaid language that can be activated by touch.
  • Jerome Fletcher’s “K Now” (depicted above) uses larger orbits for the words to move, creating space for legibility without needing to touch the screen, though touching any word brings out entire lines to the foreground for readers to better appreciate their sonorous approximations.
  • Loss Pequeño Glazier’s colorful polyglot “What Dragonfly Doesn’t Savoir Faire” uses multiple colors to signal slightly different behavior from the orbiting words— the red ones remain in the foreground, but the blue ones rotate with the white ones, occasionally becoming obscured. He also provides different instructions for the drag function, subverting the expected response from the interface. (Note also that either the app or iOS are unable to recognize or reproduce the character for accented letters.)

The structure of a word cloud from which one can pull lines through touch is a remarkably versatile structure and it would benefit from a version that allows readers to explore it with their own texts and controls, as they did with the Speak app.

Featured in ELO 2013: Chercher le Texte Virtual Gallery

“Speak Poems” by Jason Edward Lewis, Bruno Nadeau, Jim Andrews, David Jhave Johnston, J.R. Carpenter, and Aya Karpinska

"Speak App" by Jason Edward Lewis and Bruno Nadeau
“Speak App” by Jason Edward Lewis and Bruno Nadeau

Speak Poems” by Jason Edward Lewis, Bruno Nadeau, Jim Andrews, David Jhave Johnston, J.R. Carpenter, and Aya Karpinska

This suite of poems by several prominent writers in the e-lit community was written using the Speak app, an authoring system developed by Lewis and Nadeau. This is the first in the P.o.E.M.M series (Poems for Excitable Mobile Media), a series of apps designed to explore the expressive, artistic, and publication potential of Apple’s iOS computational environment, Store, and touchscreen devices. The app opens to “What They Speak When They Speak to Me,” Lewis & Nadeau’s original touchscreen poem for large installations. The app offers other poems as well as the option for readers to explore the system by entering texts. Considering the effort that goes into creating computational frameworks for e-lit works, it is a great idea to open them up for further writerly interventions. It is therefore worthwhile to see what four talented writers have done and how their own poetics and thematic concerns are expressed through this framework. The main observable variables are font and lines of text, which readers access in different portions and sequences.

  • In “Character,”Jim Andrews writes meta textual lines from the personified poem’s voice that focus the reader’s attention on the interface.
  • Jhave’s “Let Me Tell You What Happened” reveals fragments of a situation that most people would find difficult to speak about.
  • Carpenter juxtaposes two very different conceptual frames evoked by her poem’s title, “Muddy Mouth.”
  • Karpinska’s “The Color of Your Hair Is Dangerous” explores linguistic slippages resulting from speaking multiple languages.

It is worth noting that all five poets (including Lewis) engage the theme of speech, structuring their lines to allow readers to intuit their structure. They help map out the framework’s rhetorical potential.

Featured in ELO 2013: Chercher le Texte Virtual Gallery

“Bindings” by David Jhave Johnston, et. al.

http://vimeo.com/42566938

“Bindings” by David Jhave Johnston, et. al.

This powerfully expressive nonverbal poem builds on the title, with the dancers’ actions and movements in front of a video produced by Jhave. The first meaning of bindings is clear as the dancers come on stage boung by strips of fabric or are bound by other dancers. This act is portrayed in different ways— forcefully, gently, voluntarily, but never cruelly— yet the soft materials seem very effective in handicapping the dancers, who continue to dance oddly, as if exploring their new bodily conditions. As the piece progresses they are all freed, yet this seems to bring no solace to their bodies, which continue moving awkwardly. Why?

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“McLu-uhms” by David Jhave Johnston

Screen capture of "McLu-uhms" by David Jhave Johnston. An out-of-service drinking fountain. Text: "(too small to read)"
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“Typeoms” by David Jhave Johnston

Screen acpture from "Typeoms" by David Jhave Johnston. five text boxes with various lines of text inside them. Text: "UNBENDS? CAMISOLE" LIPERTATURE: / RUDE LITERATURE OF TEN ORAL" "VOLITIONS-WRETCHES" "FOXFIRES TELEPHONES!" "METAPORE: / POROUS SEMANTICS"
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“Extinction Elegies” by David Jhave Johnston

Screen capture from "Extinction Elegies" by David Jhave Johnston. Still photograph of falling water droplets, with directional arrow buttons on each side and white text to the left of the droplets. Text: "0/27/EXTINCTION sophoclean/richening-ELEGIES/EXTINCTION ELEGIES/."
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“6 Weird Questions asked in a Wired Way” by David Jhave Johnston

Screen capture from "6 Weird Questions asked in a Wired Way" by David Jhave Johnston. Black backgorund with an orange figure which has no distinct form. Text: "who is it who is it who / who runs and burns within the hiding who / who feeds and drinks on the fur of who / who is it who is it who". "
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“Spam Heart” by David Jhave Johnston

Screen capture from “Spam Heart” by David Jhave Johnston. Black background and gray words. Text: “Rise/Rinsing/Root/Ripe/Rush/ Through/ Ophthalmascopes/ Suspectedly Alerting.
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“Reboot the Universe” by David Jhave Johnston

"Reboot the Universe" by David Jhave Johnston
Open “Reboot the Universe” by David Jhave Johnston

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