Experiments / Weekly Trace

WEEK 1 -- January 28 (see attached pdfs)

I. Translation as introduction (in-class)

Translate the Gertrude Stein text distributed in class into a personalized poetic introduction. Do this using the accompanying list of html tags as a vocabulary.

Replace only significant words ("inside", "sleeping", "outside", "reddening") leaving the basic structure intact. You may use any words taken from the html tag list by ignoring the brackets ("<>")(for example to derive the words "style" and "input"). You may also use the tag words as stems for longer words ("sub" can become "substance", "var" can become "variance").

Bring the re-written text to class next week.

II. Html as Compositional Space (assigned)

Read the Loss Glazier excerpt "abcs of coding." In response, create 1-3 html pages combining original writing with html both functionally (so that it 'executes' and appears in the browser) and poetically (How do the two languages work together?). Some questions to consider: Do the two languages form a third? What is the primary text: what we see in the browser or what we see when we view the code?

Technical Guidelines

Use BBedit (in your applications folder if you have the school template)
1. Start by selecting File->New->Html Document
2. Populate this page with a writing experiment using Glazier's essay and resources below.
3. Save the page as "somename.html" (the dot html is crucial).
4. View the page in the browser by using one of the following methods:
    * Choose Markup->Preview in Safari (or Firefox)
    * find the html file and physically drag it into the browser
5. Continue to populate, save, play with the code itself, test in the browser until you feel you are        done.

Use this xhtml tutorial as an additional practical guide (you may want to look at html as well but might find it to be unnecessary):

Do your best and bring your results, failures, questions, and struggles to class next week.


I. HTML Composition

visualizing and interlinking Stein translations with basic xhtml and css (files included below).

II. tasks experiments for week 3: Code Poems or Narrative Systems

Please add old and new work to your google site page.

The reading is Hannah Weiner's Code Poems (attached below). Also spend some time with the hypertext projects under week 2 in the course outline.

The assignment, in the spirit of hypertext, is forked. You choose 1. Both draw attention to a relationship between language and information, but perhaps in different ways.  The options are:

1. (CODE) Poem as trans-space communication: consider Weiner's work and discussion of this idea. You might think about one or more of the following: morse code, semaphores, ascii, dna, bacterial communication, internet packets, cryptography or invented languages? However, this assignment (as with all others) is open to your interpretation and instincts -- there is no wrong interpretation.

2. self-portrait or narrative sketch as an (obsolete) archive: consider a real-world (perhaps obsolete) system as a guide and metaphor for organizing narrative information. For example: a phrenological diagram, the dewey decimal system, taxidermic taxonomy, human anatomical structures.

Use simple xhtml and css. There is no requirement for scale -- consider perhaps something in the range of 5-10 linked areas.

http://www.w3schools.com/ (xhtml and css tutorials highly recommended)

wk3. Presentations of Assignments / Short Visual Poetry Workshop

In-class example available below (wk3classcode.zip) and online here.

Assignment: digital poetry sketch
Combine original and/or sourced writing with css properties introduced in class (floats + positions) to create visual-poetic sketches. Create one that is more grid-based and one that is more radically spatialized. Read from Prehistoric Digital Poetry (attached below) to stimulate ideas. Code from class is also attached below.

Additional Resources
see w3schools above and these for more advanced (css layout) info:
css floats
the noodle incident: little boxes
a list apart

wk4. Poetic Randomness

screening of visual poetry sketches. Brief javascript workshop introducing basic structures (strings, numbers, arrays, math) to create a simple randomly driven text.

task for wk 5.
Review in-class exercise (attached below); take w3schools javascript tutorial. Read Mallarme: Dice Thrown handout (also attached below). Create a new sketch that responds to the reading (and tutorials) or evolve a prior sketch through scripting.

task for wk 6.
Complete the exercise in class (files for crude in-class versions attached below as wk5inclassfiles.zip) and create a randomized visualization using three movements sampled from Mallarme's Dice Thrown.


screenings of works that address time: see links on course outline to Heavy Industries, John Cayley, and bpNichol. Also: historical retroactive precedent of The Readies. Idea: (build / think of your project as) a reading machine.

Simple demo of writing on an interval with javascript below: attached as wk6.zip and online here.

task for wk7.
Be prepared to discuss your mid-term project starting points. Bring relevant files and also any specific technical or conceptual problems that could benefit from feedback. Part of the class will be an open lab with individual 1-on-1 sessions.

task for wk8. MIDTERM PRESENTATIONS on March 25 beginning @ 12:30pm.

Work needs to be online and available to others by Monday, March 22, 9AM.

Format of presentations on March 25 is a 7 minute reading or performance (not an explanation, etc.) followed by 8 minutes of critique based on the work and its presentation.



step 1
. Consider each piece/artist critiqued in class. What did you experience? What to you is the most promising moment or possibility within the piece? What question can you ask or what response can you offer to facilitate further growth/development of each work? Write one paragraph for each work and include this under "MIDTERM CRITIQUE RESPONSE"

step 2. In his novel, The Great Fire of London, Jacques Roubaud discusses and utilizes 10 styles borrowed from the Medieval Japanese poet Kamo no Comei (who believed that every piece of writing could be said to belong to one of these style categories). Using the brainstorming session in step 1 as raw material, choose one style for each artist/work that seems most appropriate. Use this as a creative filter for your response, allowing the name of the style to influence how you write while retaining the substance of your original critical/creative idea. See the link below for a list of the 10 styles. Keep in mind that you define the styles -- they are ideas and have no concrete definition or rules. You will compose one fragment for a person/work assigned to you in class.

The ten styles

step 3. Take the Jquery tutorial and attempt to realize your writing from step 2 (single fragment) as a digital text considering time and space. One thing to note: if you are using the animate function to move something, the object must have an absolute position in css. For example, this code says that when a p (paragraph) is clicked, it will move to the point 500 on the x axis, taking 600 milliseconds to get there:

     $(this).animate({left: '500px'}, 600);

But it will not work if the p is not positioned absolutely (only absolute elements can have top and left values -- well, "relative" works also but with different results).

 <p style="position: absolute">The style of running ahead</p>

Do the steps to the best of your ability or understanding noting that they are open to interpretation and instinct. Trust yourself.
If possible, put them online and provide a link on your individual page. We will view these and possibly fine-tune some of them next week. If you are adept at javascript already and want to use a non-jquery method, this is also fine.


The Infinite Staircase Exercise

Files can be downloaded below as week10_infiniteStaircase.zip. And online here (top-to-bottom version).

1. Read aloud "antecedent" section from Claude Royet-Journoud's, Theory of Prepositions.

2. In handout, see definitions of antecedent. Respond creative by composing 1 short fragment in response to a meaning (or meanings) of this word.

3. See definitions of consequent. Respond creative by composing 1 short fragment in response to a meaning (or meanings) of this word.

4. In antecedent section of the poem, add 1 line that could precede any other line that is already there.

5. In consequent section of the poem, add 1 line that could follow any other line that is already there.

6. Consider the mathematical formula for the infinite staircase. As a group, we will create a time-based work remixing all of the texts composed in the form of an infinite staircase.


assignment for week 12:
Read Douglas Hofstadter excerpt (handout) from Le Ton Beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language and create a web-based sketch that deals with translation, transliteration, or mixing multiple languages.

For multi-lingual textures, see Loss Glazier's Iona at Swoons or John Cayley's Translation. In class, we also listened to Caroline Bergvall's Dante variations piece, VIA.

Some kinds of translation to consider might be: literal, phonetic, poetic, stylistic (as in Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style), or perhaps even visual.

The in-class google auto-translation experiment can be downloaded below (week11_translation.zip).
and also viewed here: http://creativecoding.saicartandtech.com/ElectronicWriting/examples/translation.html

And here is the original example of Dante from Italian to english:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
    <meta name="generator" content="BBEdit 8.7" />
    <!-- reference to google code library -->
    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/jsapi"></script>

    <script type="text/javascript">
    //code snippets for google translation api
    //step 1: load the api
    google.load("language", "1");
    var source = "Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita";
    //step 2: core function api
function italian_to_english()    {
    google.language.translate(source, "it", "en", function(result) {
        if (!result.error) {
          var container = document.getElementById("translation");
          container.innerHTML = result.translation;
            source = result.translation;

    //3. onload command

<div id="translation">



April 30 cut-and-paste materials ->

riverrun="riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. Sir Tristram, violer d'amores, fr'over the short sea, had passencore rearrived from North Armorica on this side the scraggy isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight his penisolate war: nor had topsawyer's rocks by the stream Oconee exaggerated themselse to Laurens County's gorgios while they went doublin their mumper all the time: nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to tauftauf thuartpeatrick: not yet, though venissoon after, had a kidscad buttended a bland old isaac: not yet, though all's fair in vanessy, were sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathandjoe. Rot a peck of pa's malt had Jhem or Shen brewed by arclight and rory end to the regginbrow was to be seen ringsome on the aquaface. The fall (bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonner- ronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthur- nuk!) of a once wallstrait oldparr is retaled early in bed and later on life down through all christian minstrelsy. The great fall of the offwall entailed at such short notice the pftjschute of Finnegan, erse solid man, that the humptyhillhead of humself prumptly sends an unquiring one well to the west in quest of his tumptytumtoes: and their upturnpikepointandplace is at the knock out in the park where oranges have been laid to rust upon the green since dev- linsfirst loved livvy.";

string1 = "In mathematical logic, more precisely in the theory of formal languages, and in computer science, a string is a sequence  of symbols that are chosen from a set or alphabet. In computer programming, a string is, essentially, a sequence of characters. A string is generally understood as a data type storing a sequence of data values, usually bytes, in which elements usually stand for characters according to a character encoding, which differentiates it from the more general array data type. In this context, the terms binary string and byte string are used to suggest strings in which the stored data does not (necessarily) represent text.";

string2 = "String theory is a developing theory in particle physics which attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity.[1]  String theory posits that the electrons  and quarks  within an atom  are not 0-dimensional objects, but rather 1-dimensional oscillating lines (strings), possessing only the dimension of length, but not height or width. The theory posits that these strings can vibrate, thus giving the observed particles their flavor, charge, mass and spin. The earliest string model, the bosonic string, incorporated only bosons, although this view evolved to the superstring theory, which posits that a connection (a supersymmetry) exists between bosons and fermions, two fundamentally different types of particles. String theories also require the existence of several extra, unobservable, dimensions to the universe, in addition to the usual three spatial dimensions (height, width, and length) and the fourth dimension of time. M theory, for example, requires that spacetime  have eleven dimensions.";

string3="Com(op)posing in the gelatinous shmues of indelible deliberations and lurking mesmerizations. Counting, then countering the counts. To blotter away / Total dismay. By way of reticulated moorings, absent prognostication, elated soybean futurities. The pan bets the spatula that the ink's in the spool. Don't school me and I won't tintinabulate your nanojective fuzz machine! Fudge slide on the orange fedora calls for redemption as barrel of mambos, Latin Quarter, 1962. As if logic could preclude moxie. Nothing times two / One thing imbued. Cleating the gushes with pink-jet intensifications: Discretionary panache of the pasha of mint julep. Like totally inadvertent - jerking motions, flouncing, delayed flutter arrestation. That's BIgelow 9-8300. But the fight has just begun / Stand behind us everyone / Your $$$s make our dreams come true. Deftly doubting (doubling) the efficacy of the lotion (potion, notion). Busted or just burst open.";

WEEK 13: Mechanics of Reading as Writing: James Joyce/John Cage, Ezra Pound/Jackson Mac Low

Historical Links:
Finnegans Wake online:

James Joyce reads:

John Cage's mesostic technique:

Cage writing through wake:

Jackson Mac Low's diastic technique explained:

Mac Low's treatment of Ezra Pound illustrated:

Related Contemporary (with apologies for potentially offensive title):

In-class experiments using for-loops and String Functions (indexOf, substring) included below as week13_ostics.zip.
Example of reading-through Finneganswake
Example of reading through and combining definitions of the word string with Charles Bernstein's poem With Strings

We also screened works of previous students available here.



*final works must be online with a link on your individual page here by Tuesday, May 11 at noon.

*7 minute presentations in the form of screening/reading/performance, etc. will take place Thursday, May 11. We will meet in 619 but then go down to the 4th floor sensorium. This will be followed by discussion and written responses.

*We must start on time and full participation in this final event is mandatory for a passing grade!

Judd Morrissey,
Jan 29, 2010, 11:49 AM
Judd Morrissey,
Feb 11, 2010, 6:50 AM
Judd Morrissey,
Mar 4, 2010, 10:53 AM
Judd Morrissey,
Jan 29, 2010, 11:48 AM
Judd Morrissey,
Apr 15, 2010, 2:52 PM
Judd Morrissey,
Apr 15, 2010, 2:40 PM
Judd Morrissey,
Apr 29, 2010, 1:39 PM
Judd Morrissey,
Feb 4, 2010, 2:37 PM
Judd Morrissey,
Feb 4, 2010, 2:37 PM
Judd Morrissey,
Feb 11, 2010, 2:23 PM
Samantha Topol,
Feb 18, 2010, 2:15 PM
Judd Morrissey,
Feb 18, 2010, 2:56 PM
Judd Morrissey,
Feb 25, 2010, 2:03 PM
Judd Morrissey,
Mar 4, 2010, 2:00 PM