Individual Work

Andrew Campana has created a multimedia work that reflects upon the rigidity and punctuality of the Japanese transportation system (and perhaps Japanese culture). This work references the banality of automated announcements directed at Japanese commuters and turns them on their head. The artist juxtaposes an image of a meticulously clean commuter train with randomly generated nonsensical sentences, such as "The line is laughing on Platform 15. Please beware," "The last train is watching on Platform 10. Please get ready," and "The line is floating on Platform 2. Please prepare yourself." This generative text (poem?) successfully uses video looping and speech synthesis (in addition to other Web technologies) to create a well-defined performance piece.

It is important to note that the text of this work is generated in both the Japanese and the English languages simultaneously. What is interesting is that each of the two texts follows the semantic structure of that language creating in the viewer a different experience. This work blurs the boundaries between artistic forms and genres. Is it a performance piece, a generative poem, or something else?

The patterns, repetitions, and the form of the text ground it in the poetic genre, but the work overall seems to transcend that and cross into other areas of e-literature.

Author statement: 
Inspired by the endlessly repeated automated announcements in Tokyo train and subway stations, this is a generative poem called "自動化" in its Japanese version, and "Automation" in English. It uses the syntax of the familiar announcement "1番線ドアが閉まります。ご注意ください。" ("The doors on platform 1 are closing. Please be careful"). Every 8 seconds, a script generates a new line by randomly selecting the platform number, subject, verb, and exhortation from a preset list. It displays the result on the screen and then generates a new line. Browsers capable of speech synthesis will also read the text aloud in either English or Japanese.


- question of the work's "poemness" should be dealt with and not relegated to a parenthetical question
- deal with modalities and literary qualities
- screenshots or images