Post Bike Week Momentum…

It was great to get back to our conversation last Monday morning after a week respite (due to the UCI world championships in Bergen).

I am happy that Robert chose to present on both  Inanimate Alice Vol 1 and Inanimate Alice Vol 4.  This emblematic work has been a key “gateway” text for new readers of electronic literature.  It has also become a rich resource for educators who are interested in exploring digital literacy (and new forms of reading in a digitized/computational environment) with young readers.

Thanks Robert for an excellent walkthrough of both the first and fourth installments in this multilayered episodic story about a young girl who grows up in varying spots around the globe.  Inanimate Alice‘s multimodal combination of text, sound, video, and imagery has certainly served an exemplar of digital storytelling.  In the first episode, we meet young 8 year old Alice in the wilds of northern China.  She and her family (Mom & Dad) are posted because Dad is their for his work as an oil prospector/engineer.  The first story takes us through an ominous experience of anxiety from a child’s perspective. Alice and her mother are searching for her missing Dad.    She copes with his temporary disappearance in varying ways.  The story ends with relief as they find him in a rescue effort.   But the narrative presents considerable foreboding/anxiety.  Alice’s life is one of perpetual isolation.  She is an only child, but she is also a person who moves to different cultural contexts often, and she has trouble connecting due to her circumstances.  She responds to this with her imagination.  And her imagination is expanded with her own tinkering, writing, and making on her digital device.  In short, her relationship to technology is a formative part of her development.

In the fourth episode of Alice’s overall journey, she is now fourteen years old and living in a small town in the middle of England. Her first real friends have dared her to climb to the top of an abandoned building which supposedly has a great view of the whole town from the top. Alice accepts the dare. As she climbs to the top and the stairs give way.  She narrowly misses falling, and is stuck at the top of the building with no clear way out.  Alice is frightened, and she must navigate her way out of this dark unknown place.  The reader navigates with/for Alice, and we “play the game” until we can find our way out of the abandoned warehouse.  Brad (Alice’s imaginary digital friend) is a help if we decide to “use” him for guidance during our journey to the top of the building.  The soundtrack and imagery set a foreboding and dangerous tone, along the way highlighting glimpses of surprising beauty in an overall industrial wasteland.  Alice has a way of finding the silver lining in her surroundings and her situation.  She is a sojourner who survives despite the constrained context(s) she find herself in.

UnknownIt was interesting to think about the resonance of the title for this piece (an illusion to “Alice in Wonderland” of course, as well as the inherent provocation as we think about what is “inanimate”).  We discussed the unique affordances of the “gameplay” version of the story’s conclusion verses the other choice to just read through the factory exploration.  The gamed version is more interactive, and as a result, perhaps the navigator/reader is given a more “empathetic lens” into Alice’s trials.  We also discussed the way in which this work has been a catalyst for many discussions regarding both digital literacy and globalization.  What is striking about this piece is the strong desire to really know Alice.  While we do not know what she looks like, or anything beyond the very basic facts of her transient life, we are still drawn to this character through a skilful and dynamic portrayal of her inner workings.  The textual, visual and auditory aspects of this digital novel work in powerful tandem – the reader discovers the important role technology has to play not simply in viewing a text, but in forming a more complex and intimate relationship with a character.

We spoke a bit about the forthcoming installment in the series called “Perpetual Nomads” – a new VR installment (which is out in beta this year).  We thought about the kinds of affordances that a VR storytelling environment might lend this special serialized story.  The spacial dimensions of Alice’s experiences are a clear theme/trope throughout the series.  So it will be interesting to see what the artists can do in collaboration to build on the empathy the reader/navigator feels for Alice/. They will literally being placing us in Alice’s shoes.  This will be yet another horizon of digital storytelling complexity that will add to our understanding of Alice’s world.

We also has a rich conversation this week about Marlene’s selection of Anna Anthropy’s The Hunt for the Gay Planet. There was comparison made to Quing’s Quest which we spoke of earlier in the semester, since both Twine games.  And both texts are also playful and parodic responses the problematic limits of identity (and identity politics) in the gaming industry.  Some of you felt that this text did a disservice to the LGBT community despite the fact that it was meant to address offensive stereotyping.  In essence, the text was problematic for many of you, and you were thoughtfully critical about it.  When we discussed why, we looked more closely at the different elements that go into making elit.  While the technical execution of this game text was successful, the writing itself fell short.  We agreed that the writing did nothing to complicate gay identity in a positive sense.  Rather, it seemed to prefer a campy sensibility and in the process reified the very stereotypes it set out to dismantle.

**NextMonday October 2nd, we will attend Mary Flanagan’s lecture from 10:15am-12:00 – Sydneshaugen skole, Auditorium Q.  On Wednesday, Lene will present on Курёхин: вторая жизнь (Kuryokhin: Second Life). 

For your Monday blog post, you may write about The Hunt for the Gay Planet or you may write about Second Life.

Have a great weekend!

 

The hunt for the gay planet

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Today I am going to have a presentation about anna anthropy´s Elit piece The hunt for the gay planet. Before I began going thru the text, I wanted to read the editorial statement; and I found out what the story was based on: 

“The work takes its premise from a mainstream online roleplaying game, Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic, which in 2013 announced they were expanding their romance options in-game to include homosexual options, but only on a single planet in the galaxy. anthropy satirizes this decision with this beautifully retro piece, in which the player is invited to gradually explore the galaxy (looking under rocks and in caves) in search of a lesbian romance. The game serves as a powerful example of Twine’s potential as a platform for commenting on and engaging with AAA gaming, as Twine builds on the traditions of hypertext to allow for complex decision management and choice-driven experience design.”  (A Twine is an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories)

The hunt for the gay planet is a piece that I feel is supposed to be funny, but obviously wants to make a point at the same time. Some of the things that is written is so stupid that it gets funny, but at the same time I feel like it is supposed to be over exaggerated just to make the point clear; that point being that it is just so extremely stupid that if you want to play a videogame with a player that is gay, you can only do that on one small planet in the game… and you would have to pay for it too??:  “The Hunt for the Gay Planet began as a spoof of Knights of the Old Republic‘s “Makheb” DLC (a planet in the game’s universe where gay characters existed and queer relationships were possible, available only by paid purchase)

This Elit is only based on text, there is no pictures or music, but the author anna anthropy makes it fun anyway, by adding a lot of options that makes us eager to know what comes next when we choose one of them. Anthropy is a really good writer, I feel like its me that is going thru space to find the planet. The story starts off with a woman just looking around trying to find her way to lesbonica, the gay planet… but the story gets more and more intense, and she gets more and more frustrated. We have to look under rocks, dig holes, go left, go right… where is that planet?? You can find out what happens next yourself –>  The Hunt for the Gay Planet 


Pentametron – A clever little bugger :)

We all have those quirks that makes us care seemingly a little too much about small details that ruins your whole experience, but no one else cares about. I, for instance, ABSOLUTELY !!HATE!! when developers of software choose to save money when developing the UI (user interface), it takes me as close to killing someone as I ever will come, but very few people share my view on this, at least not consciously. In Elit, this feeling also surfaces a little at times, especially in the generative genre, because to me it doesn’t hold up just putting in words and creating an algorithm  that regurgitate out bullish*t and then call it art! Not even if you afterward come up with some far-fetched “meaning” behind it that the artist force down your throat, and you should just accept it. And no, it’s NOT art just because it  provokes the viewer who gets mad because someone takes a stick and tie a rope to it and saying “This is a sarcasting comment to the society wanting to get as much as possible with as little effort as possible”… Sorry for the long rambling, but this shit really annoys me in the world of creativity. Hey, I’m not saying people can’t do what they want, make whatever they want, but then I also get to mean what I want about it ;P HOWEVER, Pentametron is NOT one of these “Let’s make it say random, weird stuff, it’ll be fun haha “, although it DOES say random and weird stu, and it IS funny. But the reason, at least in my opinion, that the random  and weird stuff this bot tweets is because of a few small features in it’s algorithm, it has a kind of consistency in it’s content, it rhymes, and the sentences always has the same rythm, which are basic trades for classic poetry. Even though you know it’s a bot, it sort of still make sense… …in a way… …even though it doesn’t… You know what I mean ;P But no matter what you might think of the tweets in themselves, or if you find some kind of meaning in them, to me the true artistic work lies in the performance, namely how and, well how… With the first “how” I mean the algorithm/code that’s in the back-end. I have enough knowledge to know that seemingly the simplest task demands an enormous load of coding and thought. With the second “how” I mean how the artist chose to restrain the bot’s tweets to make them follow the the simple rules that it does, and giving the reader the feeling of this making some kind of sense 🙂 We can debate content and meaning forever until the end of the universe, but I mean that the main difference in where we should put value when it comes to human-generated content and computer-generated content is that we know that a computer will always do what it’s told and never anything else, and we will never get any TRUE emotion from it, so the value lies in the creation of the AI (artificial intelligence) and wether, or not it is done in such a way that you for a second actually can let yourself be persuaeded to think there is something more than just 1’s and O0’s there. And I think Pentametron did a good job on this 🙂

So until next time, Dannyboy out


Night / plebiscite (or on “Pentametron”)

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 11.38.13 PM
from “Pentametron”

Though I’ve enjoyed reading numerous e-lit pieces so far this semester, “Pentametron” was the first piece to really spur some excitement. It makes me giddy.

One thing that I’ve thought about a lot in regard to electronic literature is why exactly the electronic piece of it is so important. Although they’re formatted for the web, some of the stories feel as though they would read just fine in a more traditional format. One thing, however, that I’ve found truly special about electronic literature is that a piece can be ever-evolving. Yes, an author can add a forward to their book when they release a new edition and JK Rowling can publish a piece on what Harry Potter is up to long after the release of her original series, but these pieces still exist in their original form on someone’s bookshelf. An author has to call the creative process quits and publish something eventually, and though they can always write another book or publish a New Yorker short story the thing that they originally published forever exists just as it did it was sent to print. Two years ago, the music world went wild when Kanye West began the long release process of his “The Life of Pablo” record. This hype was untraditional in the sense that the public wasn’t waiting for a set release date. They had many release dates, and they were waiting for the official one. Apparently Kanye couldn’t get it perfect, because he kept releasing the record and then deciding to change things — sometimes in the middle of a live performance. The record that was put out on listening platforms wasn’t the “official” record, and quite frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t still working on it. While this connects strongly to class discussion involving the “Hobo Lobo of Hamelin” and if we’ll ever see an update, another part of the Kanye record release situation really fits with “Pentametron.” Part of the reason “TLOP” was so successful, I believe, were that people were excited to see the process; they waited to see what might come next. Pentametron is updated almost daily, so the fun never has to end. As times change new topics come up in the retweeted tweets, so the poem is always fresh — there’s no “sell by” date because it’s always evolving.

Part of the fun of pentametron is that it takes something traditional like iambic pentameter and juxtaposes it with tweets about . Shakespeare’s sonnets are a little outdated today, but as long as the bot is running Pentametron will never be.


#3 A Children’s Story?

This week’s blog post is about Inanimate Alice Vol. 1The story is supposed to be for children, but when I first read I did not see how it was suited for a young audience.

First of all the main character’s dad is missing, and her and her mom are driving out in the dark looking for him. Meanwhile both the visuals and sounds are sort of disturbed. The white text on the black screen flickers like a broken VHS-tape, which as a 90’s kid does not bring any happy memories. The soundsscape reminds me of a cellphone corresponding with a speaker (yes that is also a bit back in the days), also a sound that is not bringing any good memories back, I even think there was a rumour in my school that if it happened, your phone might explode. All of this together gave me a very unpleasant base for my reading experience.

After reading through the entire piece I got an idea of why this piece is meant for children. The composition of the story is classic with an

  • Introduction to a conflict: Alice’s dad is missing and Alice and her mom don’t know what to do about it. Both of them are afraid, which causes tension.
  • Point of no return: They drive out to find him.
  • Conflict escalation: Mom tells Alice she can’t use her ba-xi, which makes Alice feel more scared and lonely than before.
  • Climax: Alice hears a voice in her head telling them to turn, and they find Dad.
  • Resolution: They decide they might go to a restaurant.

I think the build up of the story is one of the things that makes it less uncanny. Seeing the familiar structure of the story gives knowledge that everything is going to be fine in the end, because that is how it always is.

The story is also quite easy to navigate. You have to click the same symbol to move forward in the story, so there is no hidden paths or anything like that (no one that I found anyway). This again goes with the easy-to-understand composition of the story.

I get a sort of Sci-Fi-vibe from the story, as we only see Alice’s writing whether it’s the white on black writing or her writing lists on a screen on the screen. It makes it seem a bit like Alice is a computer-intelligence. This also correspondents well with the name of the piece “Inanimate Alice”, she is not a real person. I don’t know what to read into this except that it brings me back to feeling there is something very strange and uncanny to this piece.

All together I, with a closer look, get why this is meant for children. The story is quite basic (not that it’s bad), the main character is a young girl, which makes her relatable for a younger audience and the visuals are fun to look at and easy to navigate. I think grown-ups tend to over think every little detail and worrying about everything instead of seeing the things right in front of them and following their guts.


Pentametron

My first reaction to pentametron was: is this E-litt and how does it work.

After looking upp and down on the twitter page I still didnt know if this was e-litt. I understand thats Pentametron is a bot that collect worda and then use algoritmer to make small poem like tweets, and tjats cool but where is the soul in the work. In other e-lit work like Hobbo lobo and Redriding hood there are alot if work and tought put in  to make it a toughtfull experience for the reader, but here its only random text.

After a while i found “I got a alligator for a pet!”
A novel by @pentametron. After i read the book it did make more sence sinze know I got to read something the bot did produce. Still the text inn the boon felt random, it was better structured and felt like real poems and not just gibberish. I will not compare it to poems master like Shakespeare but I can actuall see some likeness inn how the poems are lined upp. Like here

Why isn’t Tori Kelly famous YET?
Man Vs. Food in half an hour WOO
We’ll wright a letter to the ALPHABET
Allergic to retarded questions TOO

this is a classiv way to set up poems on there the last word rimes.

I dident see this connection inn the twitter feed, but inn the book it was clear as day. I dont know why but I did like the poems better in book form than on twitter. Funny right

To anwer the first question I asked. Is this e-lit and the answer is yes, because this is a bot that collect words and make poems out of them. Its simple and fun but still e-lit. Just to think that this bot has made enough poems to make a book is incredible.

I also mention that the twitter feed of the bot lacked soul and that I stand with, but the book have alot of soul and work but inn it. Eventough it is the same content the book (for me atleast) are more apealing and are funny to read and not just some random text on twitter

See you next week

 

 

 


#3 A different kind of poetry

I always loved poetry (that was maybe the only reason why I chose German as one of my main subjects during school) – so when one of my classmates decided that she would talk about Pentametron and poem.exe, I was excited. I did not know such as thing as a poem-generating-twitterbot even existed, so I was curious so explore what all of this was about.

Pentametron was the first Twitter account I checked out. „With algorithms and discrete / I seek iambic writing to retweet“ the biography of the account declares – and that is everything the reader has to know. Pentametron basically retweets other twitter users and at the same time looks for matching (in the sense of the rhyme scheme) tweets to create original poems.  Example:

Example: Pentametron
source: twitter.com/pentametron 

Even though the poems do not always really make sense, the reader can see the vision behind the bot. But to actually ‚read‘ the poetry Pentametron creates I would suggest to simply look at the account on twitter and not following it. Why? Because the account does not post retweets in a consecutive way – sometimes it can take days until a new tweet is retweeted and a new poem is created. Still, up to this day, the account has almost 24,000 followers – and just follows two accounts itself. One is Sonnets, the other one is a William Shakespeare account. So… wanna have a guess on what or who inspired Pentametron? Even though it is questionable whether or not Pentametron is as poetic as Shakespeare’s sonnets, I really like the idea of this bot and what it is trying to create.

But is this really poetry? Real art? Let’s first have a look at the other bot we discussed in class.

poem.exe is different than Pentametron because its algorithm does not „simply retweet“ other twitter users. Instead:

„poem.exe is a micropoetry bot, assembling haiku-like poems throughout the day and publishing them on Twitter and Tumblr. It uses an Oulipo technique based on Raymond Queneau’s A Hundred Thousand Billion Poems. Verses are selected at random from a collection of a few hundred, and a single line is taken from each one to produce a new poem. After assembling a poem in this way, the program looks for seasonal references and uses these to decide whether to publish or reject the poem.“

(source: https://elmcip.net/creative-work/poemexe)

Example: poem.exe
source: twitter.com/poem_exe

So while Pentametron tweets one line for a verse, poem.exe is tweeting the whole haiku in one tweet. This makes it easier for the reader to just follow the account on twitter than following Pentametron.
In my opinion, the haiku’s of poem.exe can also be seen as more ‚poetic‘ than the Pentametron-poems, and I think one can notice that the program of poem.exe is looking for references in its created works to see if they make sense or not. In class we compared the created haiku’s with others and we could not really make out a huge difference between the pieces (besides that maybe sometimes the computer-created haiku made a little less sense than the ‚other‘).

But now on to the million-dollar-question: is this art?

Well, we talked about this briefly in class and I still think it is hard to answer. To me, art has always something to do with the emotion of the person or the people who created the poem/the novel/the painting etc. And in the case of the two bots we can say that they do not have feelings they can put into their works. But art is also about the way it makes people feel – the emotions they go through while reading a certain piece or listening to a specific song. And just because I cannot make any sense of some of the tweets/poems Pentametron and poem.exe create – does that mean no one can? I think the question whether these bots can be considered art or not is a question the reader has to answer individually.

Did I like Pentametron and poem.exe? 
I definitely enjoyed exploring the world of poem-generating-twitterbots. But well, I’m still more a fan of the ‚classical poems‘ – but I also started following poem.exe on Twitter – so we’ll see how this story ends.

 

 

 


poem.exe and pentametron

My third choice of e-literature to explore is pentametron and poem.exe, two twitter bots. They were previously presented in class by one of my fellow students, and we discussed a number of things in relation to these two pieces. While I am therefore somewhat familiar with these works, the presentation and following discussions really got me thinking about bots and how they fit in within the worlds of e-literature, which is what I will go into here.

According to Liam Cooke, poem.exe is “a bot which generates haiku-like poems and publishes them to social media.”. The bot essentially picks three-to-four lines from different verses of a poem, may substitute some words for another, then decides whether or not to publish it based on some built-in parameters relating to the seasonal references found in the lines. Altogether it produces poems that are indeed very close to actual haikus in structure, though usually with more or less vowels or even two or four lines, rather than the intended three. It is on the one hand impressive to think that a bot can produce poetry at all, but at the same time it’s kind of amusing to see the results when scrolling through the twitter feed of the bot. Whatever original meaning the lines may have had, have been broken apart and then re-contextualized when put together with lines from other verses.

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Halloween season must be near.

There’s two points of interest here, one being meaning. In class we discussed whether there was any need for humans to create poetry, if a bot could simply be programmed to do it for us. My opinion there is that there is absolutely room for both to exist, in that a human poet may have an intended meaning behind their words and choice of structure, whereas a bot cannot yet intentionally and knowingly produce meaning. This is where the other point of interest comes in, namely interactivity. In class we argued that interactivity is a part of the piece, because the reader has to partake by trying to produce meaning by themselves. Of course one can interpret human poetry in many different ways, but where a human poet will have their own understanding of their work, a bot will have none. Add in that the poems themselves appear nonsensical due to being pieced together from multiple verses, and that they are close, but-not-quite fully haiku poems, and it sort of feels like you’re being tasked as a reader to find your own meaning from them, if any.

Pentametron is a twitter bot that retweets messages that happen to be iambic pentameters, but usually does so in groups of four that altogether reads as a verse with a rhyming scheme, usually in a/a/b/b form. This is a fun one because there is a sort of unintentional interactivity from the general public, in that anyone’s tweets could potentially become a part of the piece just by posting a sentence that happens to match the bots parameters. It is a bit more difficult to read however since one tweet only contains one line by itself, which does not appear particularly meaningful, but it is therefore interactive for the reader too in that you have to piece together the verse by yourself. Once you do so it is kind of fun to see how the verse reads and sounds if you read it aloud, and I think it’s pretty neat that a bot is able to pull this off. Of course, like with poem.exe it isn’t flawless and it is definitely a bit harder to read since there is no clear start or end to the poems. It is also to me less about creating meaning from a whole verse, and more about discovering the rhymes as you go.

Skjermbilde 2017-09-24 kl. 16.59.28
It sure rhymes, but who knows if it could even mean anything? Does it matter? Should it matter?

In the end they are both very interesting and fun bots to study as they produce poems that really only us as readers can give any real meaning too. They are also limited by whatever programming and parameters are involved when it comes to picking what words to use in their tweets, but that does not mean it makes for bad poetry, rather they are pieces of e-literature where you can’t really do wrong when it comes to interpreting them. I think it is okay if you can’t really find meaning in an individual poem, as everyone will view them in different ways. Sometimes a poem you don’t understand, someone else may find deep and intriguing, and vice versa.


Bots, and poetry!

I feel this will be kind of a continuation of the discussion from Dwarf fortress, where is the poetry created, can algorithms and computer code create poetry, or is it something only humans can do?

What?

Marie (don’t know the blog URL, or I would have linked it) in my elit class, presented two twitter bots, pentametron & poem.exe. The idea (as I understood it) was to look at these similar, but different twitter bots, and think about the idea of machine made poetry, algorithms writing, and who is doing the poetry bit.

What do they do?203

The bots are different in how they work, the first one, Pentametron, rhymes sentences, its excellent in doing just that. It probably uses the twitter api to get lots of tweets, then runs them tough a phonetic database, and getting witch sentence rhymes with what. This do me is cool, the idea of doing this would never occur to me. Now to read it, you should look at the account on twitter, following it is not as good, as the tweets are posted at different times, and if just one pops up in your feed, it would make no sense.203(2)

Is it cool, yes, is it poetry, yes, is it the algorithm creating poetry or is it the algorithm in itself created by a human that is the poetry, I don’t know. Now we are entering the realm of dwarf fortress, and its algorithm’s, and what is poetry/elit.

Before we go further into that, let’s look at the other bot.

@poem.exe, is a bot that takes poems from a collection, then it takes random lines from different poems, look at the poem, does it have a theme? It looks for key words, does several sentences contain the word “fall” then its themed, and it published the poem. I think this I funny, and imaginative, the poems do not always work, but when they do, at least in my opinion, they are inseparable from “real” poems. It lacks rhythm, and that is the main “flaw” of poem.exe, the poems may work in theme, but not in rhythm. Now I may be in the minority when saying that this is poetry, but for me the poetry is created when the reader feels something, and if that happens in “random” generation of poems, for me that is art.

203(3)

What is art is a huuuge discussion, and I will not go into it, for I am neither qualified, interested, or have the time, but, in my understanding, many talk about art in connection with emotion.

Ok, now where is the art, the poetry?

In the way code art, and digital art, I think the creation of these bots, and the code that creates them, is poetry, or art in some kind. Furthermore, I think the algorithms create poems, and just because the computer cannot feel, or imbue the poems with feeling, it does not mean that the reader cannot feel, something, at least be entertained by the bot.

In the same way that dwarf fortress creates complex worlds with huge amounts of characters and events, that is a work of literature. In my opinion is literature, even if a human can create a “better” more sensible world, maybe, that does not reduce the work of the bot, or algorithm. But all that is more my opinion, but I think its fair to say, that if the poetry, or story or whatever, can be mistaken for a work created by a human, is it that different? And I wish that Marie, in her presentation, switched the human poem for the bot created poem, and got us to look at them for a while, then ask if we could see the difference, then reveal that the bot created what we thought was a human work.


Is it poetry?

(Since I am going away for the weekend, my blogpost is published a few days early.)

This time I am going to write about Pentametron, which is a poetry generator. The website seems not to be in use, so here is a link to the Twitter page: https://twitter.com/pentametron

The Twitter account was created in March 2012, and has since gained over 20.000 followers.

The poems usually consist of four lines where each line is a tweet of its own. All the tweets used are retweeted from other Twitter accounts despite the fact that Pentametron is only following two users. I am not sure how the account works, but find it quite interesting.

According to “I love e-poetry” (http://iloveepoetry.com/?p=48), Pentametron is made by Ranjit Bhatnagar and sifts through 10% of all Tweets, passing them through a dictionary for pronunciation (to find out what rhymes with what, I assume). The mechanism behind Pentametron sounds rather simple, but effective. Though when I say simple, I do not mean to say I know how it is done – because I do not (I would love to learn though!), I just imagine that the process behind how Pentametron works is very simple once you know how to set it all up.

Now that we know a bit about how this Twitterbot works, let’s move on to the big billion dollar question that Pentametron and similar bots raise: Is it art? Is it poetry? We discussed this a bit in class already, so instead of trying to speak of this in an objective matter I will write down my own thoughts about this.

So – is Pentametron poetry? Is it even art?

Well, traditionally speaking art, and the traditional genres of art (music, poetry, paintings, etc) were made to express feelings. Emotions which the bots cannot understand, meaning Pentametron contains no feelings. However, that does not mean the reader cannot feel anything from reading the poems. Therefore, emotions may be involved after all. Thus making the “emotions”-argument not valid.

Pentametron rhymes. Pentametron is (at times) cryptic. Pentametron opens for interpretation, at least to some extent. Pentametron produces poetry… But back to emotions, will the reader feel anything?

In my opinion yes – sometimes. Some of the poems made me feel emotions. Others did not (but maybe they made others feel an emotion and just not me?). What wakes emotions is individual.

“So over everything and everyone,
(they alternated roles throughout the run),
When will the lonely feelings go away?,
Up doing homework got a test today.”

This poem perfectly describes the life of a teenager- they feel done with the world, and lonely – and got no time to talk to their friends because they got homework and tests to work with. I think many can relate to this – meaning it will cause people to feel something.

So, is it poetry? Yes, one could say that – but not in the traditional meaning. Many of the poems does not really make sense, no matter how much one tries.

So, do I like Pentametron? Kind of. I find the technology behind it fascinating, but I am not really a fan of the poetry it results in. Which brings us to the question if I am a fan of poetry in general (because otherwise of course one would not like Pentametron).

Yes, I do like poetry. While looking for a more classic poem speaking of loneliness, to compare with Pentametron, I remembered this:
“By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,”
(taken from “Dreamland” (1844) by Edgar Allan Poe).

I think that Poe opens for interpretation on a completely different level than Pentametron. Though the loneliness in the two poems may not be in the same context, I still find the differences fascinating. Pentametron tells us of loneliness and being done with everyone, while saying they have to do homework, which means more isolation from friends (hence feeding the loneliness). Poe, on the other hand, does not explain as much what is going on – leaving the reader more freedom to interpret. Also I think Poe “paints” the poem better, by giving one pictures to imagine in ones head. However, Pentametron’s poems are more fun to read – and not as exhausting because one does not need to rethink and interpret every single line or even every word.

Is this a matter of taste? Quite possible. It is not fair of me to compare Pentametron to my favorite poet, because that makes the whole comparison so much more subjective. But then again, this is my blog – meaning I decide when to be subjective and when not to be.

Overall, Pentametron is fascinating – real poetry or mocketry (mock + poetry = mocketry. Yes I just made that up) does not matter as much because Pentametron is meant as a way of entertainment. However, is not all art meant as entertainment?

 

The discussion of what is art and what is not, of what can be considered poetry and what cannot, the discussion of what entertainment is or is not, the discussion of taste/subjectivity vs objectivity… They can go on forever. Therefore I am not going to expand more on them in this blogpost. Even though these subjects are fun to discuss, I believe there is no objective truth because everyone is different. We are all individuals. And there you have my final answer to whether Pentametron is art and/or poetry: it is up to each and everyone of us to decide for ourselves whether it is or is not.

Thank you for reading my blogpost. More to come!