Individual Work
Letters From the Archiverse - Electronic Literature and Architectural Modeling

LETTERS FROM THE ARCHIVERSE by Jeff T. Johnson and Andrew Klobucar is a fascinating deep-dive into the realm of architectural and three-dimensional modelling as a tool for exploring language as a kind of visual media as well as the incorporation and exploration of audio material as a form of art. This observational media form is a kind of digital poetics, in which the viewer is brought into a transcendent and conceptualized space where poetry can be archived, shared, and continuous. The video was designed using AutoCAD, a design platform mainly used for architectural and design purposes to create this visual space as a kind of complex mathematical equation in which information can be inputted without adjustment, or loss of information to the original text. AutoCAD is a design software from software company Autodesk, and the use of this platform for this digital poetic allows this piece to become truly transformative. The video LETTERS FROM THE ARCHIVERSE opens with a multi-stream of text, which grows and expands on the screen. Overlapping audio bites begin to play over the shifting text, which creates a kind of dimensional feeling for the viewer and adds to the complexity of this electronic literature form.

This video is only three minutes and forty-seven seconds long, but there is a sense of ordered chaos throughout. While the text is ever-changing, in constant shades of blue, red, grey, and green, the audio plays music and speech in a way that overlaps and yet blends together into one large collective work. Furthermore, the work website for LETTERS FROM THE ARCHIVERSE reveals a more interactive space, in which readers can click through varying forms of text, enlarging and shrinking certain words and phrases as they navigate through. See . On this page, it is noted by the authors that "Looking takes longer than reading", and this is a fascinating insight into the ways in which the digital media space in this project is developed with the intention that the way we view and process words and phrases becomes more impactful then the way we read them all together.

With both the video and the worksite at hand, it is easy to see that this particular piece of digital media functions in a new and innovative way. By using design software to create a dynamic and observable space, in which poetry and digital poetics take centre stage, both Johnson and Klobucar have created visually performative language which gives new meaning to the conception of digital poetics, and how we read, compared to how we can observe, poetry and its meaning.

The Editorial Statement:

Poetry knows no bounds. In LETTERS FROM THE ARCHIVERSE, Jeff T. Johnson and Andrew Klobucar have created a memory palace of poetry in AutoCAD, a popular computer-aided design platform traditionally used to render engineering schematics and architectural blueprints. A program designed to place points, lines, and curves within the abstract geometry of Cartesian space, AutoCAD also renders text as a series of vectors. Rather than the bitmapped, rasterized text of PhotoShop or Microsoft Word, AutoCAD’s font faces are generated from complex sets of mathematical equations. As such, they can be blown up, stretched out, squashed down, and zoomed in with no information loss. Software that was never intended as a platform for creative writing is pushed, pulled, and prodded into something in between a word processor and a rendering tool--concrete poetry imagined at both macro and micro scales like a literalized version of Marcus Novak’s “liquid architectures in cyberspace.”

Author statement: 
LETTERS FROM THE ARCHIVERSE is an ongoing visual poem composed by Jeff T. Johnson in architectural modeling space, using AutoCAD design software. In progress since 2008, it combines attributes and methods in concrete poetry and open-field composition with 3D image modeling capabilities. This poem has become a precedent for a larger, ongoing project called THE ARCHIVERSE, which explores materiality in writing and potential methods to produce language-based visual and audio art in an age of ready access to touch-screen mobile interfaces. In collaboration with Andrew Klobucar, a networked, multi-user tablet app called ARCHIVERSE is in development. In public performance, Johnson and Klobucar animate and explore LETTERS FROM THE ARCHIVERSE via projection and sound, incorporating original music and samples with improvisatory readings of the digital language/object environment, along with performative lectures that engage digital poetics. Part conceptual space and part literary artifact, THE ARCHIVERSE currently hosts a series of multimedia theoretical models, including LETTERS FROM THE ARCHIVERSE, ARCHIVERSOLOGY, STARS OUR DESTINATION, and various recordings and projections that manifest in private and public performance.