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IMAGE GENERATION is a printed reader, gathering selected works from John Cayley’s language art with computation. The book provides its human readers with some of Cayley’s original texts, which were composed so as to be supplied to algorithmic processes of manipulation or generation. And it offers up printed versions of the prose and poetry that were produced by these processes. In cases where the computation was programmed for indeterminate outcomes, the resulting language might have been entirely different. These texts are often snapshots of something that may also be experienced in time and as a process. There are brief explanatory notes on many of these processes in the book’s apparatus.
“Reading this superb collection leaves one with the unsettling, yet paradoxically satisfying, sense that no ‘zero-count phrases’ remain — that herein everything is contained. Cayley’s complex compositional practices, from the translational to the computational, the poetic to the theoretical, have resulted in a volume that enacts the very idea of corpus with which it playfully, but critically, engages. This is writing that founds, that serves as the foundation for linguistic experiments still to come.” —Rita Raley
Poetry. Hybrid. Art.
John Cayley is a poet, writer, theorist, and maker of language art in networked and programmable media. His poetry, translations, and adaptations were first book published as Ink Bamboo in 1996. In the meantime, he has explored language art in many forms including dynamic and ambient poetry, text generation, transliteral morphing, aestheticized vectors of reading, and transactive synthetic language. One of his more recent works is a skill, The Listeners, for a well-known digital assistant . He now seeks to compose as much for reading in aurality as in visuality, and investigates the ontology of language in the context of philosophically informed practice and research. Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University, Cayley co-directs a graduate track in Digital & Cross-disciplinary language art. Selected essays are published in Grammalepsy (Bloomsbury, 2018).