While I find the subjects of digital life and gaming to be interesting, when it comes down to it, my heart is in my art. Specifically, it is lodged deep within my writing. So, when presented with the choice to design an Elit piece based on an aspect of digital life or on another topic of personal interest, I, of course, chose my poetry. More, I chose to play with the idea of designing a work that captures the creativity, “unexpectedness”, and reciprocity of poetry. In an attempt to try and embody some of these key ideals, I chose to create a Twitter bot prototype (repurposed from an old account) that runs on tweets generated from a small collection of my own poetry (written this semester in an advanced writing poetry course). My poetry is run through a simple Markov chain algorithm which remixes the selected poetry into new, bite-size works.
Here’s an example of the output:
Now, this all may look nonsensical but that nonsense or “unexpectedness” is exactly the reason why I chose to use a bot platform. More, why I chose to use a platform that can generate free-associations. Poetry is all about the unexpected and about promoting free-association. At least, that is what I believe. The art of poetry is focused on pairing unexpected associations in a way that creates a new entity in the mind of the reader, something designed to invoke/inspire a new perspective. For this reason, I thought a Twitter bot well-designed to be used in the pursuit of poetry (a idea definitely given traction from the Bot or Not test). At the very least, I believe the platform allows a unique opportunity for the concept of poetry as unexpected generation to be explored.
Also, because this piece is meant to be a work of ongoing poetry, I thought is was highly important it be generative in nature. I chose to make this work one of a kind of generative fiction because I believe it is representative of creativity in practice. From my experience, much of the process of writing poetry revolves around generating ideas but also images from those ideas. The art, again, is all about how to create these images worth contemplating from pairings of words. Poetry is words on a page, right? But, it’s also the image those words create in the mind of the reader. Therein lies the poem. In some ways, I suppose, I want my bot to represent the creative process itself and how very difficult it can be to pair words in such a way that they create that kind of compelling image.
If I had more time and the means, I would have liked to create another bot to respond in poetic kind to my current prototype bot. This dialogue/conversation would represent another aspect of the creative process–that of collaboration. The lone artist is a myth, after all. All art, especially poetry, is collaborative. Perhaps noticing the idea for a poem is unique but once the process of translating that idea to written word begins, once the execution of the idea begins, so too must collaboration with the world. Providing my current prototype bot with another would, perhaps, allow for the mirroring of the process of collaboration.
Additionally, just having this piece exist on a platform such as Twitter opens it up to outside influence which could also represent pieces of the process of collaboration. At the very least, the open-sharing platform invites conversation, invites collaboration. Again, if I had more time and the means, I would love to set up a way for my bot to respond to commenters on her posts. That, I think, would really allow for this bot and the ideas behind it to come to life. More, it would allow for that reciprocity I mentioned earlier to occur. To me, poetry is a reciprocal exchange. Every poem gives something to the reader–a feeling, an inspiration, etc. My poetry bot, actually responding to comments on its posts would, I think, only emphasize the reciprocity of poetry. It would give form to it.
Overall, I suppose my concept for an Elit piece is rather meta? Essentially, the piece I have designed/outlined in this paper is meant to, yes, explore the nature of poetry but also to invoke the creative process itself. In this way, I am not sure how it could specifically help society at large but I do think increased recognition of the creative process and of the nature of creativity itself could be beneficial in that it could inspire/generate new ideas that could be used in the pursuit of societal betterment. More than that, I think just emphasizing the reciprocal nature of creativity could be beneficial. It demonstrates how ideas feed into each other and how important it is to creativity for that free exchange to exist. Perhaps I am “waxing poetic” about the whole thing but I do believe the platform of the Twitter bot–with its promotion of generativity and with its open-sharing–allows opportunities for such big ideas to bloom and prosper. As of late, the platform’s potential has been abused but I do not think that should discourage people from trying to use it for better. If anything, I think it the abuse of the platform should inspire more people to use it to create. My idea here on its own may be small but, if paired with other ideas, imagine the picture it could paint~
*All poetry used in the making of this bot is mine. (Inspirations for the poetry itself include Rupi Kaur, Nayyirah Waheed, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Sabrina Benaim, Lang Leav, Lorde, Chance the Rapper, blackbear, Halsey. They are all mentioned in the body of the original poetic works.)
As always, thank you for reading ^.^