Hybrid / Textual / Visual

The Deletionist

A collaboration with Nick Montfort and Jesper Juul

@thedeletionist
thedeletionist.tumblr.comThe Deletionist is a concise system for automatically producing an erasure poem from any Web page. It systematically removes text to uncover poems, discovering a network of poems called “the Worl” within the World Wide Web.In the “Working Note” for Nets, Jen Bervin explains her impulse to play with Shakespeare’s sonnets: “to make the space of the poems open, porous, possible.” Her 2004 collection presents bolded words from sixty sonnets, creating a new “net” of meaning, a visually and lyrically emergent poetic constellation. The technique of erasure, in which words are removed from a source text to reveal poems latent within it, came to prominence with the work of Ronald Johnson and Tom Phillips in the 1960s. It has come back into fashion in recent book-length poems, including Srikanth Reddy’s Voyager, Janet Holmes’s The MS of My Kin, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes, Mary Ruefle’s A Little White Shadow, and (just released as this project is being completed) Sonne from Ort by Christian Hawkey and Uljana Wolf. The Deletionist asks what will happen if the text being erased is itself already a Net.The Deletionist takes the form of a JavaScript bookmarklet that automatically creates erasures from any Web pages the reader visits, finding a space of texts that amplify, subvert, and uncover new sounds and meanings in their sources. Neither an artificial intelligence nor a poetry generating system, The Deletionist has a repertoire for uncovering patterns and revealing the poetics at play within the cloud: from Project Gutenberg ebooks, to Facebook, to Bomb Magazine and Arts and Letters Daily, The Deletionist will willingly apply itself to any text set before it.The project is collaboration with Jesper Juul (developer of the conceptual game 4:32 and other computational provocations), and Nick Montfort (author of the ppg256 series and other small-scale poetry generators).The Deletionist posts interesting discoveries on Twitter and Tumblr and welcomes reader submissions.
logo

Between Page and Screen

An augmented reality artist’s book


7″x7″x.75″
Hand-bound and letterpress-printed in an edition of 12 by the author (2010).Trade edition issued by Siglio Press (April 2012).

This “digital pop-up book,” programmed by Brad Bouse, integrates the artist’s book and e-poetry traditions to examine the conventions by which we know an object as a book. The pages of the book contain no text, only square markers that, when displayed before the reader’s webcam, activate a series of animations mapped to the surface of the page. Because the animations move with the book, they appear to inhabit “real” three-dimensional space. However, the resulting poems do not exist on either page or screen, but rather in an augmented reality where the user sees herself holding, and interacting with, the text.

You can download a sample marker and see a video at www.betweenpageandscreen.com.

Read interviews about the project at Jacket2, Daily BR!NK and Molossus.

Between Page and Screen has been exhibited widely, and is currently on view at the Dennos Museum in Traverse City, MI as part of Making Paper Dance, curated by Linda Ross. A full exhibition history and list of upcoming events can be found at the website.

Abra

A collaboration with Kate Durbin and Ian Hatcher (Forthcoming).

The recipient of an Expanded Artists’ Books Grant from the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago, Abra is an exploration and celebration of the potentials of the artist’s book in the 21st century. A five-pronged collaboration between two poets, one visual artist, one iOS artist-developer, and a potentially infinite number of readers, the project has two main manifestations: an artist’s book and an interactive iPad app edition. Abra plays with the notion of the “illuminated” manuscript in both its physical form and on the digital screen. In the artist’s book, poems grow and mutate as the reader turns the pages, blurring the boundary between text and illumination, marginalia and body. The poems themselves are in flux, coalescing and dispersing from one page to the next, “illuminating” one another’s interstices in an ecstatic helix of language. The text itself also plays with mutation, forming new words and conjoining phrases, and referencing fecundity as it manifests in the natural world, the body, human history, popular culture, decorative arts, and ornate architecture, revealing the mutating evolution and continuous overlap of all these spheres as a direct connection to the constantly-changing technology of the book.

In conjunction with the artist’s book, an iPad app, developed by intermedia artist Ian Hatcher, will extend and revel in this ephemerality, putting special emphasis on interactivity to highlight the role of the reader. The conjoining and de-coupling activity of the poems will be animated in the app, allowing the texts to spring to life. Yet, with a swipe of his or her finger, the reader will be able to swirl the helix of language, creating new juxtapositions and surprising turns of phrase. Their new texts will also provide scores for potential future performances of the work. In this way, text and concept are interlinked: Abra functions much like the magic word of its origin–abracadabra–as an unpredictable living text.
Selections from Abra can be found online in Joyland Poetry, SPECS, Delirious Hem (click author photo for audio) and Action Yes. A manifesto, including images of all of Abra’s avatars (as of summer 2013), is up at The Collagist. Additional poems are in Black Warrior Review issue 27.1, The Degeneration Issue.

Selections from Abra can be found online in Joyland Poetry, SPECS, Delirious Hem (click author photo for audio) and Action Yes. A manifesto, including images of all of Abra’s avatars (as of summer 2013), is up at The Collagist. Additional poems are in Black Warrior Review issue 27.1, The Degeneration Issue.

A trade edition of Abra, featuring illustrations by visual artist Zach Kleyn that animate across the surface of the page in conjunction with the poems, is forthcoming from 1913 Editions.

Pictures of Ian and Amaranth’s visit to the Center for Book and Paper Arts can be found here.

As We Know

In Collaboration with Andy Fitch.

Recently selected by Julie Carr for the Subito Prize, As We Know will be published by Subito Press in 2014.

As We Know attempts to invert the gendered history of editorial intervention as it has played out in the famous cases of figures such as Dorothy Wordsworth and Emily Dickinson. At the same time, it repositions erasure procedures at the origins of (rather than in response to) a published text. Here Amaranth Borsuk has taken Andy Fitch’s summer diary and reshaped 60 passages (formatted as daily calendar notations in homage to Robert Creeley’s A Day Book, with its cover design by Robert Indiana) into a new type of collective confessional/constructivist collage that brings her own voice into the text and foregrounds the tensions of authorship. Embracing Roland Barthes’ call for a “corrected banality,” this project presents the most unmediated-seeming idiom—the diurnal, journalistic record—as itself the consequence of methodical and/or whimsical extraction. Nonfiction subjectivity emerges as the product of, not just the source for, erasure poetics. As in Barthes’ own elided memoirs, the resulting work calls into question exactly who we are and what we know.

The selections above originally appeared in Evening Will Come, and additional poems from the manuscript can be found in Matter, Dusie, and Ocean State Review. Additional selections are forthcoming in Barzakh, Comma, and Court Green.

My Hypertropes

Translations and Transversions of Twenty-One Minus One Programmed Poems. In Collaboration with Gabriela Jauregui.

In 1979, Paul Braffort, a founding member of the OuLiPo, published Mes hypertropes: Vingt-et-un moins un poèmes à programme as an homage to the other writers who were members of the Workshop for Potential Literature at the time.

The sequence of twenty interlinked “programmed poems” operates according to Zeckendorf’s theorem that any number can be expressed as the sum of two or more Fibonacci numbers. Part of the content in each poem is thus “programmed” by the poems containing those Fibonacci numbers that can be added to make it (for instance, the 20th poem contains phrases that appeared in 13, 5, and 2, which together add up to 20). Despite this heady constraint, the poems are filled with the joie de vivre, word play, and bawdy wit that characterize Braffort’s writing and music (he is also a well-known cabaret singer and has released several albums of French songs).

With Braffort’s approval, we have taken a twofold approach to this work, providing direct English translations alongside collaborative poems of our own—”transversions” that intersect with, re-create, and occasionally subvert, his constraint-based polyglot poems.

Poems from this manuscript have appeared or are forthcoming in The Drunken Boat, Aufgabe, Drunken Boat, New American Writing and Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion. The manuscript (101 pages with translators’ notes) is available and includes unpublished collages and drawings by Braffort to accompany the poems.

Sunt Lacrimae Rerum


Paper and acrylic box. 3″x3″x3″. Edition of 13 (2013).
3” x 3” x 3”
Paper and acrylic box
Created for “An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street” in homage to and in mourning for the street of booksellers, this book takes its title from Aeneas’s words of sorrow uttered before a Carthaginian mural depicting the Trojan War. Tragedy must be brought home to us, but how can we relay the depths of loss—a very idea predicated on absence? This reliquary is part lachrymatory: it contains a book whose text of tears is designed to tear away at itself each time the book is displayed. Pleated into an accordion, it plays the elegy for its own effacement as, gradually, the cut-out letters catch on one another, pulling themselves up and off the page until they may fall away entirely. Not only is the book’s texture designed to transform, its text does as well: page by page, one letter of the phrase changes at each turn. Although “these are the tears of things,” over time we might enter a space “where all the tears embraced.”

This book  has been exhibited at the Wiener Library for the Holocaust and Genocide in London; the Mosaic Rooms gallery in London, the Chappell Center for Book Arts in Portland, Maine; and the Center for Book Arts in New York City, along with other contributions to “An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street.” A complete list of exhibitions is available at the coalition website.

It is currently included in the exhibition “Book Power Redux” at 23Sandy Gallery in Portland, Oregon, which also has copies of the book for sale. Curator and book artist Laura Russell was interviewed by Joseph Gallivan of KBOO about the show on June 10, 2014. “Book Power Redux” travels to the University of Puget Sound’s Collins Memorial Library in August.

 

Al-Mutanabbi Street Broadside Project; “Outside Santa Fe”

Letterpress-printed in an edition of 50 with hand-stitching by Amy Bouse (2009).

The Mutanabbi Street Broadside Project was started by San Francisco poet and letterpress printer Beau Beausoleil in response to the tragic bombing of that street, named for 10th-century poet Al-Mutanabbi, in 2007. A hub of artistic and intellectual activity in Baghdad, Al-Mutanabbi street is home to booksellers and cafes—a true literary community. The bomb killed 30 people and wounded at least 100 more, at the same time damaging countless works of literature and targeting an area known for the exchange of ideas.

In collaboration with visual artist Amy Bouse and California Poet Laureate Carol Muske-Dukes, I contributed a broadside for Muske-Dukes’ poem “Outside Santa Fe.” You can view the Jaffe Center’s archive of the work, including artists’ statements, here. It was letterpress-printed in an edition of 50 on Somerset paper using photopolymer plates on a Vandercook Proof Press at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.

Amy Bouse, a painter and fiber artist based in LA, provided vibrant stitchings on the surface of each broadside that reference the art of bookbinding and the way it binds together languages, and, by extension, peoples. Each stitching has a life of its own–-suggesting in some cases a disobedient streak, a flash of lightning illuminating the storm, or an explosion, to name just a few possibilities. Because they are hand-made, each broadside is different, and thus bears the markings of an individual hand and mind at work on the page.

Ange Malade

For young women with questions

Pastel, ink, and mixed media. Hand-bound in an edition of 1 (2005).

This altered book project, inspired by Tom Phillips’ Humument and with a mind toward Raymond Williams’ keywords, traces terms and patterns in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Anthony Trollope’s The Duke’s Children. These sources yield three tales surrounding young women’s self-discovery.