Individual Work
How It Is in Common Tongues

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HIIICT is a generative literary work by John Cayley and Daniel C. Howe. Unlike many generative literary works (which are based on combinatory procedures that reshuffle a predefined textual database), this program operates with Google’s search engine, taking the whole of the Internet as a database and making searches of combinations of words that replicate Samuel Beckett's How It Is (1961). HIIICT is thus a reconstruction of Beckett's novel. Discretized in blocks of words, Beckett's text was entirely cited from the Internet and all the links for the sources of each group of words are available as footnotes.

Exploring the practice of writing on and with the web, HIIICTsubverts the questions associated with authorship, copyright and property that characterize print culture and that have also been adopted by “Big Software”(Cayley, “Aurature”, 2015 ), ending the illusions of the peer-to-peer global network imagined during the first years of the so-called digital revolution. HIIICTreflects on the tensions between human and machinic cognition, between human and posthuman language, between language as an instrument for meaning production and expression, and the algorithmic language that works behind the scenes of our digital writing trace, categorizing, indexing and monetizing it.