| RL Installation
THEORY / PRACTICE
| Of Programmatology
WEB WORKS &
| generated texts:
: First Lesson
: Actual Possession
of the World
from Book Unbound
: list of previous talks
: installations &
: relating to IN
I N D R A ' S : N E T
: o r :
H O L O G O G R A P H Y
machine modulated poetry | books unbound
(Plastic) Literary Objects | POtential LIterary OUtlawry
C A T A L O G U E
O F : E X I S T I N G : W O R K S
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Indra's Net IX
'Oisleánd' is an exploration of the translation and transformation
of one written language into another. In its cybertextual form (as computer software
encoding a literary object - specifically a HyperCard stack and graphics files which
you may download as shareware from the Indra's Net Download Point) it uses mesostic techniques to
sow the text of either original or translation within the spelt words of the parallel
text in its corresponding language.
You may explore a set of 'Frozen & Painted Readings' - colour screen
shots which capture and make clear the principles involved here on the Web.
London: Wellsweep, 1996. ISBN 0 948454 28 8.
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Pressing the REVEAL CODE Key
Indra's Net VIII
Using a development of the form initiated in Book Unbound, this piece allows readers to create
and explore collocational blends generated from an article on the relationship between
software engineering and experimental poetics written for the electronic Journal,
EJournal ("an all-electronic, e-mail delivered, peer-reviewed, academic periodical"
- to subscribe, send 'sub ejrnl' to: email@example.com; to get vol. 6, no. 1, send
'get ejrnl V6N1' to the same address, or visit the EJournal web site: http://www.hanover.edu/philos/ejournal/home.html).
London: Wellsweep, 1995. ISBN 0 948454 27 X.
one constructs with and against and amongst the code
it can be made to enrich such phenomena
real inscriptions of our most intimate activities
real inscriptions of our creative
so either of these absent agents may be programmers
systematic manipulators of text
authored in the constructive act as
inscriptions of the code
each term of the code
each term of the field of writing
press the reveal code key
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THE SPEAKING CLOCK
Indra's Net VII
... with acknowledgements to Emmett Williams's 'Poetry Clock' and,
more specifically, to John Christie's mechanical 'Word Clocks' ... however this (silent)
speaking clock in software both composes from a given text according to quasi-aleatory
procedures and actually tells the 'real time':
"What if it was impossible to apply a single name from a finite
set to a moment which seems to recur in an acknowledged cycle of time? What if it
was impossible to apply the word 'dawn' to more than one single instant at the beginning
of some one particular day?" -- from the given text.
London: Wellsweep, 1995. ISBN 0 948454 26 1.
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Indra's Net VI
When you open the book unbound, you will change it. New collocations
of phases generated from its hidden given text - a short piece of prose by the work's
initiator - will be displayed. After the screen fills, you will be invited to select
a phrase from the generated text by clicking on the first and the last words of a
string of language which appeals to you. Your selections will be collected on the
page of this book named Leaf, where you will be able to copy or edit them as you
They will also become a part of the hidden store of potential collocations
from which the book will go on to generate new text. That is, your selections will
feed back into the process and change it irreversibly.
If you continue reading and selecting over many sessions, your
preferred collocations may eventually come to dominate the process. The work may
then reach a state of chaotic stability, strangely attracted to one particular modulated
reading of its original seed text.
Unbound was selected for inclusion in:
special Hypertext Issue of pmc.
London: Wellsweep & Engaged, May, 1995. ISBN 0 948454 97 0.
'Leaves' from Book Unbound
Generated by the author and other active readers.
|Remarks on 'Book Unbound'
from Espen Aarseth's 'Cybertext: Perspectives on Egodic Literature'
Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1997, pp. 56-57.
"John Cayley's Book Unbound is a literary work not easily classified by traditional
aesthetics. As a computer program (written in Hypercard), it takes over the screen
and spits forth short suggestive sentences one word at a time ...
"The program is assembling these lines from its 'hidden texts' according to
certain algorithms. As the process goes on, the hidden text is changed by what is
displayed, and the user can select passages for inclusion in the regenerative process.
Thus the text output is influenced, and will be different for each copy of the text.
Is it still the same text? Cayley calls the produced output 'hologograms,' fragments
that contain holographic versions of the initial material....
"This text is an impurity, a site of struggle between medium, sign and operator.
The fragments produced are clearly not authored by anyone, they are pulverized and
reconnected echoes of meaning, and the meaning that can be made from them is not
the meaning that once existed. Book Unbound is an extreme paragon of cyborg aesthetics,
an illustration of the issue of communicative control. The pleasure of this text
is far from accidental; it belongs not to the illusion of control, but to the suggestive
reality of unique and unrepeatable signification. It would be a grave mistake to
see this text as a metaphor of the 'impossibility of perfect communication' or as
the embodiment of the gap between sign and meaning in texts. Instead, it shows how
meaning struggles to produce itself, through the cyborg activity of writing."
Aarseth's study is a highly-recommended contribution to the study of cybertextual
literature, especially for it's typologies of potential genres (and textual communication
generally), its application of sophisticated but down-to-earth literary and theoretical
analyses to the entire range of emergent literary forms, including, importantly,
the cooperative, cyborg literature of MUDs and MOOs.
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An Essay on THE GOLDEN LION
Han-Shan in Indra's Net
A mesostic demonstration of 'interpenetration and mutual identification'
based on an original poem by the author and Fazang's (643-712) 'Essay on the Golden
London: Wellsweep, Nov. 1994. ISBN 0 948454 95 4.
A limited edition paper version of this piece has been published
by The Morning Star Press, Edinburgh:
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MOODS & CONJUNCTIONS
Indra's Net III
Collocational procedures applied to three related texts, generating
a new work which explores strictures and constraints associated with both sex and
London: Wellsweep, 1993-94. ISBN 0 948454 93 8.
A poem gleaned and lineated from Moods & Conjunctions.
|Moods & Conjunctions also contains developments of earlier work.
This screen shot is taken from its rendition of the piece 'Indra's Net 2'.
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Indra's Net II
The first demonstration of a collocation hologogram applied to
a prose work by the author and concerning the paintings of Zurich-based British artist,
London: Wellsweep, 1993. ISBN 0 948454 87 3.
A paper version of Collocations is published by the Many Press,
London in an edition of 221, 16-page pamphlets, each of which is unique:
I.2 | Snap | Up | Top
|INDRA'S NET I.2
A revision of the original Indra Net essays with the first version of 'Under it All'
as centre- piece. Pre-dominantly mesostic (internal-acrostic) pieces, with much explanatory
London: Wellsweep, 1991-93. ISBN 0 948454 84 9.