hello! my name is Blair Johnson.
I'm in my fifth year of a PhD program in Poetics
in Buffalo, New York
like most cold places
it is both snowier than you think
and less snowy than you've heard
(what is poetics)
I still don't know. :)
maybe: " the continuation of poetry by other means."
— Charles Bernstein
I'm working on a dissertation that orbits around two ideas
1. translation creates paradoxes, and paradoxes are full of possibility
translation can be
a loud presence, the shout of a process at work
(not a transparent conveyor)
2. digital poetry is translingual
it moves between
human- and computational-regimes
and a poem can be a record of that movement
or a map of that between
I'm also a poet, with a few enduring obsessions
obsession #1: materiality
the ink on the page
the shape of letterforms
like Robert Smithson's "A heap of Language"
or N.H. Pritchard's EECCHHOOEESS
the physics of paper
cutting out
making see-through
how space
and paper itself
can become part of the reading of a poem
like the typewriter poems of dom sylvester houédard
where the letterforms weave the page into a textile
or Theresa Cha's envelope books
how screens
contain memories of these materials
which are no longer present
but are alluded to on screen
and linger in the history of computational materials
like punch cards
the book as form
"A book is a sequence of spaces. / Each of these spaces is perceived at a different moment — a book is also a sequence of moments."
— Ulises Carrión, "The New Art of Making Books"
bpNichol's Sharp Facts
translation through disintegration:
"The analogue is one of a transmission thru time, a speeding up of the breakdown process given information in a purely machine context. In this case the machine is the message. The text itself ultimately disappears."
obsession #2: language + language
how one language encounters another
without being made equivalent to each other
as in Caroline Bergvall's poem Via: 48 Dante Variations" that collects 48 distinct English translations of the first lines of Dante's Inferno
which form into a beautiful, cacophonous echo
how languages are always plural
and porous
and carry histories of migration, colonialism, and violence
while also expanding new possibilities, new ways to live in language
I'm taking Machine Language
we've been reading about
the gap between
the world
and data —
methods of its capture
" Information now signifies any bits of data that can be removed from the whole, broken into pieces, refined, put back together, parsed, communicated or transmitted, and reformed for the purpose of generating new products bearing meaning. It is, in itself, a practice and ideology accumulated out of the recurring need to organize strategies for knowing across competing global epistemologies."
—Marisa Elena Duarte, from "Network Thinking"
boundaries and borders
" The analog computer maps continuums precisely whereas the digital computer can only be precise about boundaries."
— Anthony Wilden
and how to locate
as agents or authors
in this entanglement
and dreaming about
what the early internet felt like
how to see methods of seeing
how to become useless data
and places where joy persists
I've been working on
of faces
like type(faces)
how they are made readable
by first being made countable
This was made with ravel
which was developed by Everest Pipkin