In Honor of National Poetry Month

About the Exhibit


Poetry as a literary art form has been thought by some to predate literacy itself. The aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of poetry have long made it a quintessential expression of human experience. The earliest forms of poetry seated in ancient songs and passed on through oral traditions to the Shakespearean and the Homeric and even the nursery rhyme have enriched our cultures from the beginning. The recent shift to a visual, virtual, digital culture opens doorways to new and exciting forms of poetry. "To be relevant to contemporary social practice, art [...] must embrace interaction between communicative modes."

Poetry uses forms and conventions to suggest differential interpretation to words,or to evoke emotive responses.[...]The use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony and other stylistic elements of poetic diction often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations. Similarly figures of speech such as metaphor, simile and metonymy create a resonance between otherwise disparate images-a layering of meanings, forming connections previously not perceived. Kindred forms of resonance may exist, between individual verses, in their patterns of rhyme or rhythm.

Some of the standard conventions combine with coded and programmed environments and actions to create a broader range of poetic expression. Digital art, digital poetry, bridges diverse media: text, image, audio, and interactivity. Contemporary poetry have, therefore, taken advantage of this toward the creation of works that synthesize both arts and media. Digital artists use the interactions of music, spoken voice, sound effect, images, and words to create the digital poetry we will be experiencing at this exhibit.

There are many types of 'digital poetry': hypertext, kinetic poetry, digital visual poetry, interactive poetry, code poetry, experimental video poetry, and poetries that take advantage of the programmable nature of the computer to create interactive, generative or combinatorial works. Some of these works involve sound poetry, or take advantage of things like listservs, blogs, and other forms of network communication to create communities of collaborative writing and publication.

Anthropoetry: Modern Expressions of the Human Condition is an interactive and immersive digital media art show that attempts to display this new form of poetry as one of the quintessential expressions of human life and enterprise. The exploration of a lifetime of experiences, feelings, and thought processes all given voice in electronic artforms.

Intended to lead the visitor through the course of life events, the exhibit centers on the heart beating. It begins in childhood where wonder is linked to fun and discovery. Emerge in the vibrancy of youth, then explore the joy of innovation and tap into the family and friends arena. Recall the peaks and valleys of love, the depth of faith, the wonder of nature, and the essence of body discovery. Finally, forge the depths of death and loss.

Kids get the joy of diving into "Animal Amina" by Chris Joseph – "a collection of digital poetry for children that uses interaction, animation and optional sounds and music to uncover each poem through movement around an A to Z of interconnected scenes."

"Cruising," by Ingrid Ankerson and Megan Sapnar takes us through the youthful adventures of driving through town and meeting up with friends. An "excellent example of a Flash poem that, while primarily linear and cinematic, makes use of interactivity in a limited way that complements the subject of the poem, the coming-of-age ritual cruising, with hormones raging, in small town America."

"In Sea and Spar Between," Stephanie Strickland and Nick Montfort immerse the reader in a poetry generator which defines a space of language populated by a number of stanzas "comparable to the number of fish in the sea, around 225 trillion. Each stanza is indicated by two coordinates, as with latitude and longitude."

"Amor De Clarice" is "based on excerpts from the short-story "Amor," by Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector. The poem is animated text that can be clicked and dragged by the reader, with sounds assigned to the words."

"Public Secrets" "takes us inside the massive prison-industrial complex in central California, not as tourists but as witnesses, following Sharon Daniel as she herself witnesses the testimonies of women incarcerated in the Central California Women's Facility."

Davidson, Cathy and David Theo Goldberg. The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age. John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2009.