Thursday, March 24

Why i don't put links in my poetry

hyperlink -- (a link from a hypertext file to another location or file; typically activated by clicking on a highlighted word or icon at a particular location on the screen)
=> link -- ((computing) an instruction that connects one part of a program or an element on a list to another program or list)
=> instruction, command, statement, program line -- ((computer science) a line of code written as part of a computer program)
=> code, computer code -- ((computer science) the symbolic arrangement of data or instructions in a computer program or the set of such instructions)
=> coding system -- (a system of signals used to represent letters or numbers in transmitting messages)
=> writing -- (letters or symbols written or imprinted on a surface to represent the sounds or words of a language; "he turned the paper over so the writing wouldn't show"; "the doctor's writing was illegible")
=> written communication, written language -- (communication by means of written symbols)
=> communication -- (something that is communicated by or to or between people or groups)
=> social relation -- (a relation between living organisms (especially between people))
=> relation -- (an abstraction belonging to or characteristic of two entities or parts together)
=> abstraction -- (a general concept formed by extracting common features from specific examples)


That's what WordNet, my very fine instance of the graphical interface program to the WordNet online lexical database version 2.0, says that the coordinate terms for the noun hyperlink are. Now those guys over at the Princeton University Cognitive Science Lab are very smart guys, i guess they are about ten times smarter than me in a manner of speaking so you are not going to hear me questioning the correctness or relevance of these coordinate data. I guess they are just about to do some extremely clever things with these data, things that are going to knock us poor poets right off our feet.

Right. Let's get stupid again, you should know by now i do excell in stupidity.

Now sure the information above is not what a 'hyperlink' is. This information, together with synonym indications, hypernyms and familiarity ratings together with some derivative info and some meronyms that perhaps aren't yet included for this word, and some (grammatical?) processing instruction code, is all that we can possibly give a machine to deal with the word 'hyperlink'. Possibly? Well, scientists don't very much care what a word 'is', they're too busy trying to teach machines what a word can do and how it does it, and vica versa, what it, the machine, could do with a word should it be able to use it 'correctly'. 'Correctly' being equal to 'human understandable', i guess, anyway that's how i read these smart guys' intentions and how i read them while attending a Tutorial on Semantic Web in Antwerp the other day. Don’t laugh, i did understand about 85 percent of what was being said ( i had a good day and lot’s of toothache, that always helps me to concentrate on the subject and not to stare at the bare shoulders of a woman in front of me or be thrown into blissfull oblivion by other, minor distractions ).

Now for me all that information is about 10 percent of what a word, any word, ‘is’. It’s the ten percent I’m usually messing about with in a very stupid and disrespectful way, because i’m just no good at it or at being ‘correct’ in any way, for that matter. I do need computers for that, correcting me, i mean.
The other 90 percent of what a word ‘is’, has to do, i think, with it being a process. A process that changes over time. Each time you use a word, the process changes, it stops being the word you just used and it becomes another word. Now that’s what i mean with the words written on the flash animation embedded in the KRISTINE file on the site.
Difference>Absence>Difference. It’s the language process according to (well, not Garp but it’s close) dv. It’s a little magic trick we all are very capable of: you take a word (differentiated), you make it disappear into eternity (absence) and then you somehow return it, albeit different. Let’s call it the DAD process, shall we? That surely has a nice religious and Freudian ring to it. From now on we can start dadding DAD.

Now perhaps I wasn’t too clear about the absence bit. How is it that a word disappears when you use it? Well very simply because the very fact of using it at a given time-in-space-coordinate, changes it, so it becomes momentarily absent. It changes it like you change any process when you use it. It changes like your car process on its way to the car cemetery changes everytime you drive it. It changes like a river changes when you step in it. It changes like your lover changes whenever you make love to her/him. It changes like any process changes when it is met with or infused by another process.
Now all these minute changes are part of the differentiating process. The differentiating process is what makes life fun. Without it nothing would move. It is in a very literal sense the prime mover of things as we know them.
The differentiating process produces absence and therefore it produces another differentiating process. It’s the continuation of things through their absence. Pretty deep, isn’t it?

Now us poor poets are pretty good at dealing with differentiating processes because we make our living with it. Ok very poorly so, but we do. What we do is, through some very profane magic with the magic itself, create the reality of absence in our poems in such a way that the attentive reader, not being distracted by any bare shoulders in front of him, can reconstruct that very same reality in her reading process. It’s what TS Eliot used to call the ‘correlate’, i think, you should forgive me if i use the wrong term, i read Tradition and the Individual Talent way back in high school and i do remember being struck by it as by lightning but not the exact phrasing and i’m too darn lazy to look it up. It was that dark gray pocket book published by who else but Faber & Faber, that’s one of the reasons why I like that particular shade of gray i realize now, it symbolizes the very essence of something that is beautiful because it ‘fits’.

You see? Through stirring dull roots in your reading process, mixing memories and desires, i almost manage to create a reality for you. (i say almost because i believe there’s more to it than that to create).
In that reality i can spin the logic of poetry. i can do pretty much anything with it ( if i may presume for a moment) if i’m in a good day, having no toothache at all and lots of bare shoulders to look at.
I can do that because through practice and failure upon failure upon failure, i have somehow managed to learn the basics of creating reality from absence. The absence in turn being created by the words i use.
Now i put before you, the almighty non-existent audience, the bold assertion that all these ‘basics’ as i call them are pretty much profane magic. And that by analysing these forms of magic properly, you could somehow manage to ‘correlate’ them to machine programming instructions enabling machines to perform the same trick, or at least something similar, something so close to the ‘real’ thing that the process would also, like poetry, create divergence, escape routes, ‘lignes de fuites’, as Deleuze would call them. And that about adds up, according to Guattari’s Chaosmose book and according to stupid me, to exactly what our society would be very much in need of.

Now why don’t I put links in my poetry? Well the idea is tempting and like you I’ve witnessed experiments with the hyperlinking of poetry. You know those early cd-roms with very clever programs where you start reading a text and then oopedeefloop you click a word and you’re oopedeefloop in another text? Basically, I think it can’t be done. Because that would imply that the reality constructed in one poem process would be the same (exactly the same) as the reality in the other poem. That is quite impossible, as Morton Feldman rightly put when he was saying that there can be no repetion, that repetition doesn’t exist. So if you really want to know why I don’t put links in my poems, go and buy one of his records, Crippled Symmetry would be a good one to start with if you don’t know the guy’s work (shame on you). Put it on. Listen. No repetition. Can’t be done. Tragic, isn’t it? That’s beauty for ya.


1 comment:

dv said...

Actually, i'm getting involved at the moment in a process were i do attempt to 'link' poetry (La vie Sexuelle de Charles Baudelaire), but here it's a premeditated murder because the texts were actually written to be 'linked', i.e. used as 'code'.

I use 63 texts of 9 lines each that are conceived as creative functions with callable methods, so in the final program you could do things like scene1.moment3.getBodyFunction().toVideo() resulting in a Softcinema-like output.

'Text' number 64 will be the result of the overall process infused by user interaction, so you get user input-program with 63 functions- output. But the whole thing can also be 'run' as a theatrical process involving me and other actors going through the program in a more sequential manner. And then there's also a 'advertising' piece of viral code that is continually attempting to invade the process on the pretext of bringing an audience to it. Kinda Google Adsense invading Art (cfr. the Adsense adds for kitchen and bathroom manufacturers on the ViLTNET homepage).

Ofcourse 64 is a bit low-rez, but we'll have to do with today's equipement, won't we?

This thing was conceived earlier, so it's called take 2 because, at the time i first started this (1999), i didn't have any substantial programming skills yet and i got stuck in the writing process because of that. It could only function in a metaphorical way, which of course results in just some highly intellectual wordplay that almost nobody ever would care about. Just another Mallarmé like word machine.
I first got the idea of writing poetry as a software program from Peter Verhelst's Master.(this may sound crazy - it propably is- but Verhelst is a fellow Belgian writer who's always doing the things i want to do and he's by far the better writer, so the guy is kinda bugging me - this was a rare occasion where he actually gave me an idea, mostly he just publishes his results some time after i think of something, effectively destroying any need for me to do anything anymore. Nowadays, however he seems to be going places different from those that i am lead to by my delusions, so i finally seem to have gotten rid of him & my frustrations)