Google + Poetry = Googletry (Part 1)
Thomas Basbøll has decided to take the idea (if it can be called that) of Flarf one step further:
This brings me to my point, which is about Flarf as procedurally defined. The use of Google shows how the poem might be understood as "criticism in a new composition" of existing usage.One can imagine a poetry (and this prose is trying to be a contribution to its poetics) that works in two windows: one is used to run Google searches, the other is a simple text editor (NotePad, for example). Text is cut out from the one and placed in the other and is then "workshopped" until perfect…
After all, consider the following line of thinking. Suppose there is no longer any need for "original compositions". Suppose that we can be sure that all the writing we will ever need is already getting done, more or less automatically. Suppose only the weeder is now needed.
An interesting idea, so for fun I thought I would try an experiment and Google some raw material. Using the rhyming words from Shakespeare first sonnet, I did three different Google searches: a general search, a news search, and a blog search. Then, I chose the first item from Google’s resutls, and then selected the first complete sentence from the source site. (Note for the news and blog results I included a link to the source site. I didn’t think of this while doing the general seacrh).
Here are the results:
GOOGLE SONNET 1: RAW GENERAL SEARCH
[Increase] Would you like to increase your brain power today?
[Die] Welcome to the Death Clock(TM), the Internet's friendly reminder that life is slipping away... second by second.
[Decrease] How to work out percentage increase and decrease.
[Memory] Memory that is designed, manufactured and tested to the specifications of brand name computer systems.
[Eyes] Hi - and welcome to Eyes on Design!
[Fuel] What is the impact of recent hurricanes on U.S. Oil Markets?
[Lies] Here are the updated graphs of US war deaths in Iraq for October.
[Cruel] The candiru fish shown in these gruesome photos leapt from the water and attacked the penis of a urinating Brazilian.
[Ornament] Have some Hallmark ornaments you just don't want anymore?
[Spring] Welcome to the home of the Spring Framework.
[Content] These guidelines explain how to make web content accessible to people with disabilities.
[Niggarding] As the opening sonnet of the sequence, this one obviously has especial importance.
[Be] For the moment only a limited amount of content is available in English.
[Thee] "More Deep Cuts" is out now in the US. please visit Turn Records for more info.
GOOGLE SONNET 1: RAW NEWS SEARCH
[Increase] A significant rate increase given by federal regulators to Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Co. to decommission its plant at Haddam Neck is drawing fire from state officials and is under review by a judge.
[Die] At least 500,000 earthquake survivors in Pakistan still have no shelter with the fierce Himalayan winter just days away, international relief agencies have warned.
[Decrease] Stanford University scientists have discovered a potential new weapon in the battle of the bulge: a hormone that reduces the urge to eat.
[Memory] The iPod nano is already behind the cutting edge — and that’s good news.
[Eyes] The recent joint venture between Tata Steel and Blue Scope Steel of Australia will focus on the areas of pre-engineered buildings and steel-intensive buildings.
[Fuel] The dust-up in the Dungeon video arcade began when a group of Jordanian teenagers cursed aloud about television reports that at least one of the suicide bombings that shook this city Wednesday was carried out by an Iraqi.
[Lies] With his 2002 novel The Horned Man, James Lasdun delivered a taut tale about a New York college professor trapped in an existential nightmare.
[Cruel] ONE of the UK's leading authorities on the First World War has launched an outspoken defence of the British generals involved in the conflict, insisting they are the victims of a cruel and enduring myth.
[Ornament] This family of five is struggling financially, but active in school and church.
[Spring] Spring of 2004 may be just a distant memory, but it figures prominently in the outlook for Tuesday's opening day of firearms deer season.
[Content] The first space mission in a decade to Earth's closest neighbour, Venus, has blasted off.
[Niggarding] Your search - Niggarding - did not match any documents.
[Be] Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz today proposed that the SAARC Summit and other meetings be streamlined to make them business like.
[Thee] California emigres should have to pass a brief economics test before being welcomed as Nevada voters.
GOOGLE SONNET 1: RAW BLOG SEARCH
[Increase] The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms.
[Die] Well today went far better than I thought it would.
[Decrease] Olivier Blanchard's latest on European unemployment:
[Memory] Hey guys!
[Eyes] Love is when you look into someone's eyes, and suddenly you go all the way inside their soul and you both know it.
[Fuel] The Union of Concerned Scientists has a new Flash animation parodying the Bush administration's flawed proposal to revamp fuel economy standards in the US.
[Lies] Having a high focus on career indicates that you are extremely focused on furthering you career right now.
[Cruel] Amazing. Waterboarding (pictured above) is merely a "psychological technique," not rising to the level of torture.
[Ornament] I hope you all had a good weekend!
[Spring] Ha! I finally created my perfect spring semester schedule.
[Content] Information does not want to be free, it wants to be seen!
[Niggarding] From fairest creatures we desire [sic] increase,
[Be] But hey ho... I'm waiting for the bath water to heat up instead :).
[Thee] It's good to see pieces like this one from the Washington Post.
Are these poems yet? A collection of found objects? Readymades? Or raw material in need of “weeding” and “workshopping” (or "worshipping", according to spell check)? Most art that uses found objects, like Cornell’s boxes, relies on the artist to “edit” and juxtapose according to his or her “vision.” But is randomness, or at least structured randomness in this case, also art?
At the very least, this is a collection of raw material to be manipulated/transformed/workshopped edited into something else. I might try that in a following post, and the material is open for anyone else’s use. It would be interesting to see what becomes of this language in the hands of various writers.