video stills

“Paradise in a Pill” and two other poems, plus five asemic letters in Angry Old Man

AOM-5-cover

Angry Old Man is one of the best online journals out there for experimental words and images. AOM issue #5 was just released, filled with great contributions from the international avant garde poetry scene. I’m pleased that several of my works are included: three text poems from my “robot language” series–“Paradise in a Pill,” “This is What We Know,” and “Your Body Is Waiting”–plus five video stills that represent part of an alien asemic alphabet. You can view the images here, and read the poems here

AOM-5-vispo

The texts form part of a new series of experiments inspired by the Facebook AI units that recently developed their own language using English words with different syntax and meaning. The AI units were intended to carry out customer service transactions and negotiations, and the format of their language seems to be a powerful way to confront and manipulate the continuous stream of commercial messages invading our mental space. I’ve written more about this work here.

Each of these three pieces were initiated by phrases contained in spam emails that seemed evocative of something more mysterious or sinister…like something a robot would say when addressing an audience of meatbags.

AOM-5-text

 

 

3 text pieces and five video stills in Otoliths #51

robot-poems otoliths 51

Always an event when a new issue of online experimental poetry round up Otoliths is published. Today, the journal’s 51st issue was released, marking Southern Spring (Australia), containing a who’s who from the international experimental poetry scene. Vispo, text works, hybrids, you name it.

This issue offers a selection of my work, including five stills from the video “Silenced Scribes” (view them here), and a selection of three texts from a new series tentatively called “Robot Speak”: “Cattle Check,” “Then It’s Time,” and “Ready America.” You can read them here.

These three texts form part of a new series of experiments inspired by the Facebook AI units that recently developed their own language using English words with different syntax and meaning. The AI units were intended to carry out customer service transactions and negotiations, and the format of their language seemed to be a powerful way to confront and manipulate the continuous stream of commercial messages invading our mental space.

Further, they represent an attempt to replicate a machine code constructed from an extremely limited vocabulary, often initiated by spam emails. Each piece develops by permutations, repetition, and sound/rhythm. It’s impossible for the human observer to know if the machine is analyzing or tabulating data, performing a calculation, conducting a negotiation, or making a persuasive appeal. Any of these functions is a possibility. In a way, the texts are a form of speculative fiction: looking at a machine narrative pulled from a future where AIs have been released to perform functions on their own. As in the case of the Facebook AIs, these instances show a machine or machines adapting human (English) language for their own ends. The repetition of the key words imitates a transactional language, as if a carnival barker is repeating an appeal to a potential audience. But the end result also reminds me of a magical incantation appealing to a familiar spirit.

video stills otoliths 51