Systems+Art Showcase

2018 Student Research Symposium

“A “sculpture” that physically reacts to its environment is no longer to be regarded as an object. The rang of outside factors affecting it, as well as its own radius of action, reach beyond the space it materially occupies. It thus merges with the environment in a relationship that is better understood as a “system” of interdependent processes. These processes evolve without the viewer’s empathy. He becomes a witness. A system is not imagined, it is real.”

The State of Real: Aesthetics in the Digital Age


  1. Globalization and Self
  2. Privacy and Security
  3. Internal vs external conflict
  4. Systems Theory

How do these things come together?


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Forensic Artist

Each writer will have their own unique techniques when they go about establishing a character. The physical features and story-events work together to develop an image for the reader, usually with the hope that it may reflect a character that the author has in mind. Outside library walls, building a coherent character plays a significant role in the work of local coroners, investigation teams or “Forensic Artists”. Accurate description and representation of reality become charged with flesh-and-blood value. The author’s ability may determine the safety of another. By compiling public sets of data from Canada’s Missing Database I wanted to create an alternative description for the missing persons.

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Screen to Print II


J.R. Carpenter, The Gathering Cloud and Hack Circus 12  (purchase online)
Taryn Hubbard, “Notes for Browsers” in TCR Spring 2014. (.pdf)

Taryn Hubbard’s Notes for Browsers reflects on Rauschenberg’s “The White Paintings” (1951) by creating a poem made entirely of white hex colour codes (#FFF) calling it “White Poem” (2014). The F-triplet used to represent colour in digital spaces, typically comprised of a hexadecimal number that further embedded in the interface, which numerically scales shades of red, green and blue. Thinking about the 6-digit shade, it becomes clear that there are millions of numerical combinations possible to create the desired colour.

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This week:  Amaranth Borsuk & Brad Bouse, Between Page and Screen (2012) Kenneth Goldsmith, Soliloquy (2001)
Majorie Perloff, “Screening the Page/Paging the Screen” (2006)


noun.  sol⋅lil⋅o⋅quy

1: act of talking to oneself
2a poem, discourse, or utterance of a character in a drama that has the form of a monologue or gives the illusion of being a series of unspoken reflections
↑ as defined by the online Merriam-Webster dictionary.
I have had Goldsmith’s hallucinatory splendor, Soliloquy, on my mind since I first opened it last week.
The epigraph by Ludwig Wittgenstein has (coincidentally?) come up recently in a book that I am reading about Gravity’s Rainbow (Thomas Pynchon’s opus piece from 1973). The line, combined with a fraction of Gertrude Stein’s conversation with an anonymous reporter, presages his bizarre and oddly thoughtful work that comes from a project that dates back to 1995.

Originally produced as a 281-page book, every word Goldsmith spoke over the course of a week in the spring of ’95 became the source material for the poem. Unlike the definition above, Goldsmith chose to physically archive the spoken word, not the inner monologue. I see this choice inferring to the all-too-relate-able act anxious recall.

Platform Poetics II


Tore Rye Andersen, “Staggered transmissions: Twitter and the return of serialized literature” in Convergence 23.1 (2017) (.pdf)
Jennifer Egan, “Black Box” (3 reading options: i) Twitter @NYerFiction beginning May 24, 2012, ii) Paste “Black Box” – Tweet by Tweet (6 June 2012), or iii) in full in The New Yorker Science Fiction issue (4 June 2012).
David Mitchell’s “The Right Sort” (2 reading options: i) Twitter @david_mitchell beginning July 13, 2014 or ii) The Guardian

“Whether we gain or not by this habit of profuse communication it is not for us to say.” —Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room (1922)

Although tweeting may have seen it’s heyday years ago, the platform is still present in our daily lives by remaining restricted in ways other social media platforms decided to expand. Though Twitter has evolved by doubling its original 150-word count to 280, the fractured prose are still the central focus of the platform rather than live streams or augmented selfies.

I find Twitter to be a fascinating platform, as a young user in high school I would log on to my Twitter feed with the intention of reading. This motive differs drastically from Instagram (the primary social media source that connected users to author’s ideas in the previous week’s readings) which is primarily driven by image (and now video) consumption or Facebook which annihilates any user purpose with media mega-stimulus.

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Digital Performance


This week we engaged with Kate Pullinger’s Jelly Bone (on the OOLIPO app),
James Pullin’s, “Story Making Machines,”and Andrew Gallix’s article — “Oulipo: freeing literature by tightening its rules,”

The Information age could be defined by our personal smartphone or tablet devices. These nouveau devices confidently offer the public their main medium for reading (maybe not full novels per-say but articles and news undoubtedly). As suggested throughout this course, this change to digital from print-based sources has contributed to an array of new methods and styles to tell stories.  This week’s reading was ‘produced’ rather than ‘published’ by Oolipo — a German platform that is breaching the historic  boundaries of the cinema, literature and the new app world.

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The Curatorialist


This week we looked at  “The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0” and Todd Presner’s comments-“Digital Humanities Manifesto Launched”. Plus,  Amaranth Borsuk’s, “The Upright Script: Words in Space and on the Page,” and  Pathfinders: Documenting the Experience of Early Digital Literature.

From these works, I could spend the rest of the semester (or thousands of words) commenting on Amaranth Bursuk’s “The Upright Script: Words in Space and on the Page,”. I would like to look at her analysis of the impacts of data culture on poetry by the nouveau curatorialist-like manner of authorship and the capacity for the digital medium to embody spatiality.

As a curator, as stated in the “The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0”, one is making an argument through objects, words, images, and sounds… a spatialization of critical and narrative tasks (9). Environmental factors and needs determine the choices of a communication channel, that is, according to time and place or the spatial qualities. In digital poetics and literature, environmental factors are restricted. The transmitter (author) and receiver  (reader or audience) are confined to the digital’s inherent representative or substitutional qualities. This form constrains any possible messages since the informability, detectability and localizability are no longer flexible but standardized by the medium.

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Communication & Information: Being in the World

Sound in Cinema, Murray Stiller

Stiller presents Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory as one of the principle arguments for sounds significance in film. The theory outlines the role of art in capitalist society and social transformation, and the aesthetic value it may hold. Adorno believed that when art is authentic, it will contain inherent hermeneutic meaning, and empirical value. These characteristics would bring forth another ‘world’ even if the work could be traced by its social and/or cultural influences.

On the other end, Adorno believed that art that was produced solely for entertainment purposes could be, or is, reduced to information that could be consumed. Art of this nature will derive from commercial interests that dictate the participant (or spectator) as an object that is already immersed in the capitalist calculation, rather than a subject (or participant) that could reflect and reinterpret.

Adrorno’s ‘Standardization’reflects his analysis of mass-produced art, allowing audiences to become passive witnesses in the process of deconcentration. He calls for serious art that is authentic and original that demands attention. Original work will provide tension that must have deeper consideration, that can only find resolution through society

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Always Becoming



Upon opening Aleph Null, I immediately connected with Andrew’s Futurist-like style. Famous works like  Dynamism of a Cyclist by Boccinoni and Battle of Lights by Joseph Stella are some of my favourite works of art. The Futurist deconstruction of representation and form is both chaotic and intriguing. Like Boccinoni, Andrew’s works are unique. Since there are very little recognizable or grounding forms the tone and emotion are left open for the spectator’s interpretation.

Having the opportunity to play with the program that he produced to make his work also added another dimension to my appreciation for his work. The hands-on approach to Aleph Null allowed a richer experience, by operating the different tools that he developed and adding my own work to the program. Although there is a whole language required (Javascript) to look at the inner-workings of the program, by adding my own photos and text the digital space became more familiar. I could understand the decisions he had made to generate the final works he produced.

The randomness and almost-unpredictability of his “poetry” is the most alarming aspect and as I see it, connects him to the futurist movement. The digital mediation of randomness (of the movements, and text presentation) is very different from the painted or sculpted forms from the 20th century. The artistic flare that makes digital works recognizable can be must more difficult to find. Even Andrews admitted that he worries about not knowing whether a piece is made by his program. The final forms are not deliberate actions made by the artist anymore, rather the conditions are set out by the script (or the tool) they produce to make the art. The digital work is unique in that it is “always becoming”.