Poetic Caption

Mixed media, custom software
Installed for the Biennial Faculty Exhibition, Museum of Art
Rhode Island School of Design/Chace Center February 25-March 20, 2011

In 'Poetic Caption,' two procedural entities, two readers, move through a three-page poetic text. One of them is always visible on the recto or right-hand page. This is a Perigram Reader which scans and highlights its leading neighbors, not just the word ahead but those on the lines above and below. If it finds that one of these other words forms a 'perigram' or phrase of natural English, it may diverge from the simple reading path and shift its attention up or down.

The other reader is often visible. It moves slower and may appear on either page. This is a Simple Reader, slowly but brightly highlighting the successive words of the text in their standard order. But this reader is also fertile. It may spawn Perigram Readers—these spawned readers are infertile—in its neighboring words like a cellular automaton. A fertile reader will only spawn if a neighboring word forms a phrase (a perigram) with what it has just read. A spawned reader (in grey) heads off in the direction of its spawning and dies as soon as it no longer finds a word that makes a phrase of natural English, usually not more than three generations. One might say that this reader is highlighting neighboring 'phrase-tendrils' in the course of its reading.

Click here to launch an Applet version of the configuration of texts and readers that was shown for this exhibition.

'Poetic Caption' is an installed variant of one of the first works made as part of The Readers Project.