When I was 16, my mother took me to Guyana for a month. I’ve written about the experience in a couple of poems, and I’ve told the story on more than one occasion as a moment of epiphany for me; I came back from Guyana with a different perspective on the life I was living in London. And I don’t mean to push a simplistic argument of privilege and lack of, but I will say I took less for granted. It is perhaps a characteristic of the human condition, that we settle into norms and subsequently become blind to them. I left as a city kid, dependent on 24-hour convenience stores, constant, uninterrupted power and running water in every tap. I came back aware of the fact that things could be different.
I’m no environmentalist. Not by a long chalk. But I know that there’s a price to be paid for the modern conveniences we surround ourselves with, and that’s more than the RRP. The ocean Ivan Macfadyen describes sounds like something from a dystopian sci-fi narrative. Except that it’s a reality.
Maybe it’s the kind of reality that more of us need to experience, to live with for a period of time, in order for any kind of understanding or desire to do something different.
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A short round-up of a few interesting narrative games. With thanks to @rogre.
Paul Ford, Deliverables
Words are things. Information is mass in another form.
- Seth’s Blog: Time doesn’t exist until we invent it
Introducing the new Livescribe 3 smartpen (US) (by Livescribe)
Write poem longhand, instant conversion to digital text. Two things to scrutinise: text recognition (I’ll be the first to admit that my handwriting sucks these days) and writing experience (that nib doesn’t look particularly dainty). That said, one for the Christmas wish list?
D.O.R.T.H.E. (by Lasse Munk)
"Created by Lasse Munk and Søren Andreasen, D.O.R.T.H.E. is a system of re-cycled components and a max/msp patch that creates music from thoughts written in the form of words and sentences. The system is built to control a number of mechanical machines build almost entirely out of $300 worth scrap electronics sourced from a junkyard.
"Using the typewriter as the main input, D.O.R.T.H.E. reuses words by analysing them. It uses varied algorithms to for example map number of letters in a word to a pitch in music, but also identity things like emotional states like joy, distress, happiness, discomfort and fear in text."
Project page here at soundjuggling.com. What kind of music would a poem make? Hm…
Yes, I’ve been known to recommend a number of different productivity tools. And yes, I’ve been known to float from system to system— not so much in search of productivity nirvana, but more trying to stay true to whichever best fit my way of thinking at that point in time. I’m currently somewhere between Things and iThoughts (which is really a mind-mapping tool, but is robust enough to manage tasks, and there’s something about the ability to a) manipulate my workload via touch and b) see how it’s all connected that I find useful right now…) - and I just found an attractive new kid on the block (Gneo) that syncs via Evernote…
At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of what works best for you. Although there’s some good general advice about managing the workload, and some general principles that we should probably all pay attention to, there is no one true path to take when it comes to getting things done.
"I’m working on my PhD in English, with a focus on poetry."
“So how would you define a good poem?”
“It’s a good poem if I’m a different person when I’m finished reading it.”
It seems the default state is busy at the moment. You know the deal: too many things, too little time. Haven’t been shooting much recently, even with the iPhone (as reflected by the lack of updates through my Instagram account and ‘For Then and Ever More’), and that’s when I know I’m not being mindful or reflective enough. Even so, news this weekend that one of my VSCO images made it into the curated grid put a nice little smile on my face. There’s a wealth of beautiful imagery there, so the selection comes as a welcome reminder to take a breath and a few more pictures each day.
If you have an iPhone and don’t already know, VSCO is pretty much the Vimeo of mobile photography, where Instagram = YouTube. ‘Nuff said.
Currently in a #BARPo session led by South African guest @nomadpoet Toni Stuart. “You create the path by walking it” - truth. #vscocam
“My uncle is skinning peaches for cobbler because I stink like city, he says, like iron and exhaust…
"My uncle is skinning peaches for cobbler because I stink like city, he says, like iron and exhaust and a girl should know the taste of something with the sun still inside it, because when I leave this house and go back to my mama and she breathes me in
he wants me to smell like she used to, like dirt. The peach is spurting juice down his wrists and onto the counter. He fingers the veins in the pit, says eat one, you’ll grow a tree inside you, your mama had one once but she tore it up, killed it good, took you south.”
Skinned, by Katie Knoll - follow the link to read the poem in its entirety.
SADLY BY YOUR SIDE (by Fabrica)
Love it and the possibilities it suggests. Imagine a poetry collection rendered as an app in a similar way— how interacting with the environment through camera or mic could change your experience of of the text or audio of the poems offered to you…
It’s relatively easy to generate audio in respond to visual input, but meaningful text? Would the app be a generative application (i.e. text generated dynamically in response to input) or more simply interactive, offering pre-recorded content in response to specific conditions. Some kind of middle ground? An algorithm that could recombine segments of text in response to audio/visual stimulus, where the relationship between the bodies of text would be the dynamically produced output? Sounds exciting to me.