Individual Work

Evolution is a generative poem that aims to answer the question: can machines think? Johannes Helden and Hakan Jonson attempt to learn whether a computer algorithm can convincingly emulate an artist’s work enough to make the original author redundant. Evolution combines sound, visuals, text, and movement to give the piece meaning and to attempt to answer that question. Evolution uses an algorithm to generate random poems in the style of Helden. The effect is an ever-changing arrangement of words and phrases, each giving the poem a new meaning and a new interpretation. The sound played in the background is also generated through an algorithm, imitating Heldens musical work. As a result, the piece remediates two different mediums at once. At its core, Evolution is a remediation of print poetry. The algorithm twists the idea of authorship on its head. We are made to question the true author when it is a computer generating poetry randomly. This type of poem is similar to Dada poetry in that it combines random words together to make something entirely new. I believe the deeper message lies in the nature of the piece itself. In a sense, the medium, the algorithm, and the people who created the piece all have a hand in the creation of the poetry and can all be considered the author.