Urban Poetry Lateral Studio

Studio Activities

Students will interpret the city and the space of urban life through combinations of language in digital poems. We will develop these poems using practices of modification and reworking that are well-known in both poetics and computation. The session will open as participants each modify a simple text-generating program, exploring new ways of writing with computation. The work that results will inflect the original programs, and their endless streams of commuting and recombining language, with participants’ own experiences of language and urban space. We will read the outputs out loud, and experience and discuss other digital poems, including remixes and modifications done by others. After having heard each other’s work, participants will have a chance to revise or renew their projects, either further developing what they did early in the session or modifying a different generator.

Nick Montfort develops literary generators and other computational art and poetry. He has participated in dozens of literary and academic collaborations. He is associate professor of digital media at MIT and faculty advisor for the Electronic Literature Organization, whose Electronic Literature Collection Volume 1 he co-edited. Montfort wrote the books of poems #! (pronounced “Shebang”) and Riddle & Bind and co-wrote 2002: A Palindrome Story. The MIT Press has published four of Montfort’s collaborative and individually-authored books: The New Media Reader, Twisty Little Passages, Racing the Beam, and most recently 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10, a collaboration with nine other authors that Montfort organized.