Interactive Poesy

Found a neat little poetry toy the other day. Go to www.sweetoldetc.org to see. The creator is named Alison Clifford. She does other audiovisual work beside this. I found a number of light play videos and images in her portfolio which she calls “interstitial articulations.” I included one of them above. They’re pretty slick.

Sweet Old Etcetera is one of her earlier works, and you can tell at times that it is indeed someone’s early work. There are some rather broad gestures, like letters drifting across the browser window to form the word leaf and a few other corny animations that sometimes give it the feeling of a flash animation greeting card. Nonetheless, it is a wonderfully interesting experiment. She arranges the poetry of ee cummings into shaped text blocks which are visually representational. The words themselves are usually only vaguely significant, as cummings had intended. I think the project is really playful and imaginative, and nicely complements what ee cummings was trying to do. The different arrangements produce an added semiotic layer to the semi-sensical text phrases. The aural tones are stimulating and emotionally correlative. Most interesting of all is how the verse animations, which have an effect of mutating lines into new statements, create a new sort of lineation that transforms focus compartments of text within the whole poem rather than employing a serial transition to each succeeding line.

Have a look for yourself and play around with it.

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