What Happened to the Future?

Date
May 2019
Type
Installation

In 2019, the Poetry International Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary.  For this occasion, new media artists Vera van de Seyp and Yara Velosa delved into the archives many highlights and selected works of three poets who had previously taken the Poetry stage. We linked the display at the Kunsthal to the theme of the festival’s 50th edition: What happened to the future? As every imaginable subject can be found on the internet within seconds nowadays, the amount of information seems to be infinite. How can poetry find new relevance in this time of infinite-scroll online content? Three poems of the Poetry International archive have been selected and treated as algorithms in three different media, each musing upon a potential future.

# 1 […] The Death of Logic
The poem The So-Called Cain’s Harvest, Or The Death Of Logic by Rati Amaghlobeli [Georgia] refers to the progress of time, the absence of logic and ageing. Through an algorithm, the elements described in the poem are linked to a database of images and sounds. We visualised the poem based on its structure and subject: defying logic and linearity of time. During the recitation of the poem, the images are displayed in endlessly changing combinations, forming a continuous unpredictable composition.

# 2. […] Life is Given to Us Humans
Based on the poem Life is Everywhere by Lev Rubinstein [Russia], We created two chatbots discussing the purpose of life. Each chatbot tries to find structure and purpose in its own way, but their perspective is not always the same. Visitors can participate in the conversation by typing on the keyboard.

# 3. Exist, and the Future,
The poem Alphabet by Inger Christensen [Denmark] provides a list of existing objects in alphabetical order, and with each letter, that list grows longer. We have created a live version of the poem, that searches what people are saying on Twitter about each of the objects and adds this information to its original structure, creating a dynamic, crowdsourced version of the poem, which continues to grow infinitely, expanding just like the poem and the life it describes.