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Aided Creation in VPoetry ?


A quick approach to the poetry of the next century



Examining the possible relationships between poetry and computer science requires an extension of any analysis beyond the immediate consequences that are suggested, with the purpose of adjusting our current vision of the topic to an absolutely plausible frame of reference inside which creative activity will be unraveled in the medium term.

Because although today any correspondence mostly implies the readiness of very good programs of graphic design, two- and three-dimensional animation, video edition, hipertextual authoring in multimedia, etc., here the schedule of technological manifestations that links them is not drained. I would dare to sustain that these are the most visible or close aspect of what the computer science could contribute to the general poetic production. This contribution mainly draws us towards other questions, often avoided, that will be key factors in our inquiry; for example, advanced interfaces for the simulation of environments, artificial systems with intelligent behavior, access to multiprocessing and supercomputing via net, etc.


Computer developments change at a rapid pace, forecasting with certain clarity the inevitable destination to which they literally rush: the breakup of the abstraction techniques of the general physical properties of the represented, that is to say, the perfect concrete simulation of all those objects or processes transposed into the virtual space of the machine. That "parallel universe" many have wanted to imagine in diverse orders of reality will soon become secured in an perhaps unexpected environment: that of digital computers and their derivations.

We will have for this a technological capacity that will suit "with all the requirable properties for the recognition of reality in any formal aspect of a certain situation ... The "manipulation" of such unanswerable representatives -physically convincing- will throw a group of phenomenic informations completely identical to those ones that characterize the represented in the real world. It will fit a total experimentation with the virtual object, not limited to a particular profile of its "physics".

... Virtual reality has meant a considerable impulse for the integration of processing systems to the human environment in the form of mixed systems (man-machine), that is to say, cybernetic. But the narrowing of the distance that divides both "terms" of the system, not only results in benefit of a more realistic access for displays, trackers, sensors, etc., to representations of material entities sustained in the artificial environment, but rather, and fundamentally, it offers the invaluable possibility of "manipulate" objects without factual equivalence, ideal entities decidedly developed due to the existence of that support."(1). And here is where the poetic function will intervene with enormity in fact &laqno;for the design of events that respect neither natural laws nor the processes that they impose», neither, on the other hand, those solutions applied with extreme frequency in the different previous supports.


Mentioning a virtual poetry already imposes a full agreement with the idea of a digital domain inside which not only the tasks of recognition or &laqno;reading» but mainly those of the own creation or composition of works are carried out. Speaking today about a virtual poetry implies a relationship with a platform of design of the poetic phenomenon that emulate the readiness of resources of our real world in its interface - as for its three-dimensional operating functions -, as well as offering approaches to intelligent processing that assist and suggest the "immersed" subject with creative intentions new routes and unexplored fields, not avoiding quantifications when these are necessary, offering him or her with methods of probabilistic evaluation of the different instances that he or she confronts, advanced semantic operations, rules or functional laws conceived "on the fly" by the user and applicable to diverse particles defined in the text, empiric strategies to optimize the resolution of certain difficulties in the composition, etc.

Also, since they are complex objects and algorithmic processes, or attainable by means of associated neuromorphous circuits (2) - with functions of overall computing, not sequential, characteristic of integrated neural networks - , these virtual systems will have series of "tools" at the disposition of those who will "visit" them, able to make inconceivable operations for our natural world " Vpoems and the Virtual Poetry Domain have a logical existence, so that, they bear no resemblance to anything, becoming entities with an actuational power (related with the quantity of resorts at work) as has never been seen or experimented before."(3) and/or signic treatments only comparable to those produced by the human brain.

This posture involves problems tied, on one hand, with the concept of &laqno;information» and, on the other, with the possible structures of the cerebral organization entrusted on the recognition of a text like a poetic one. These matters dealt by the Argentinean semiologist José E. Garcia Mayoraz appealed to me particularly (4) and they induced me to incorporate the calculus as an integral part of the process of poetic composition and to foresee it as the initial link of a chain that should culminate in a complex system of attendances, already being in their moment approached in the following terms () :

"The advance toward the aesthetic function of language as a "group of networks of strong tensions of improbabilities associated with linguistic units», will offer a real and effective alternative to the concrete treatment of texts - or signic systems- predominantly self-reflexive ... A study that faces the representative mathematical formulation of such combined of networks, and provides, consequently, a method of calculation and integration of such functional parameters, will result in the layout of an aesthetic discourse - in each one of their layers - , would be a game between variables - that represent events with associated probability -, their space dispositions and the tensions which outcome of the balance of informative load between those variables. These mathematical procedures employed indeed for a computer, will assure an integral handling in agreement with the dominant components required of the aesthetic function; one that shows that they proceed and settle by typically probabilistic causes."

"The "corrective" process applied in Estiajes (6) was formulated respecting strictly such conclusions referring them to the morphologic, syntactic and orthographic layers" - even for the version in English developed jointly with the British poet Ian Taylor - . "A series of routines programmed and processed by computer permitted a statistical analysis of linguistic units which have come from the segmentation of the complete text; as well as the visualization of values of entropies - null memory source and Markov -, informations, efficiency and redundancy ... they were useful as permanent indicators during the interventions on the base-material, guiding noticeably their ranges and characteristics."(5).

This procedure of intervention assisted by computer put in to practice a series of rules or constructive and corrective principles that could be summarized on the following way: (i) unrepeatability of blocks, (ii) minimization of reduced blocks or of high frequency of appearance, (iii) maximization of extended blocks or of low frequency, (iv) substitution of terms in order to avoid the formation of denotative sectors(7), (v) graphic considerations of the diverse units -form, relative location, etc.-(8), etc. These rules have implied like certain propensities to which was affected the process of general composition and they have been "dosed" in a combined and discretionary way.


"A process like the described above implies a securing of semantic non-linearity by: (i) extending these unique trajectories embracing contiguous denotations and connotations; (ii) forcing crossings between far branches from the componential tree; (iii) producing simultaneous trajectories with diverse probabilities and/or (iv) engendering interconnected zones of free traveling in the associative fields. On the other hand, there would be neither a strong adscription to the syntax that regulates the ordinance of the code -after a more precise significance but also more redundant-, because the work carried out on the expression's units somehow would break into it.

... One could add that semantic non-linearity, well characterized by the same patterns ... the network's digital information -arborescence (growth like ramifications), imbrication (overlapping events), interactivity and continuous transformation -, ... is possible in every type of support!, even in those technologically less sophisticated, because it constitutes a problem related with a way of production of signs that, certainly, is not linked with the aspects of the chosen technology.

Nevertheless we know that this is able to promote it, since in its channel function, as the containing physical support first will impose major or minor restrictions to the signals (capacity of the channel) and for derivation to the type of communication (codes to implement affecting their complexity and their reaches, rates of information, etc.)" (1).

That "the same expression-content system is not lineal ... it is consequence of ... artificiality as the equivalent of increment of information for working on the code and the continuum, ... producing any class of "scattering" of the defined semantic trajectory (or unless than those with higher probability will be traveled) that is settle down between punctual elements of the associative fields of the units that intervene in the work ... something like a hyperdiscourse " expounded not as a counterpart to hypertext but rather like the first resource in front of this "channel/signal level construction that on his own doesn't assure informative effectiveness, but only a channel of multiple, overcrossed and simultaneous administration of data."(1).


The entropic analysis of Estiajes "focused essentially into the physical body of the code, doesn't drain the wide repertoire of prospecting with which the concept of information counts» since &laqno;the average of information that characterizes entirely a text arises from a global exam of the different phonic, semantic, syntactic, etc. informations, present simultaneously in its articulation", for which "what was done only prologize an imperiously more extensive and embracing approach ... (being) indispensable ... to have solids programs able to face agile and precise surveys of all kinds of linguistic units inside the framework of an exhaustive analysis, that will level the path toward the development of a software of synthesis or real system of aesthetic articulation aided by computer"(5).

As I have already said &laqno;during the process of correction or transformation of the base-text I was applying diverse operations dependent on probabilistic states that merely suggested modifications determined by these states. It could remain established a protocol of automation that on the occurrence of a specific type of "anomaly", this assumes the decisory role and executes the necessary corrective modification. Evidently such interventions of the machine could be deployed in a vast field of action, that doesn't discard the automatic generation of substantial parts of the text, neither does it represses a stochastic or pseudo-aleatory evolution that adds unpredictable derivations for the now, co-author.

Then arises the necessity of familiarizing with a CAD system (aided design), inside which the text goes, indeed, designing it according to approaches of global entropic optimization; where exists an interaction between the formidable requisitions of data made by the machine, their quantifications and structural implications, the units or articulations advised by probability, the immediate access to lexical information stored in memory or in any convenient support, the protocol of elimination of redundancy that intervenes the text for unilateral action of the machine, the contributions for unilateral human action, etc.

... artificial intelligence that involves inferential ramifications, self-learning capacity, selectivity and other operations that enlarge the informative volume in a changing context, will guide the course and the resolution of many problems expounded around the poetic attainment of language without a doubt. The new profile that the whole creative process will go acquiring gradually while embarked upon the construction of mixed systems ... will directly end in a unprecedented cybernetic consonance "(5). One could conclude saying that we are very close to a kind of cooperation between man and computation devices, for which the latter won't be limited to the mere figure of valid and necessary "instruments" in order to execute a human "prompting", be more or less explicit, programmed, open, etc. On the contrary, these artificial devices will develop capacities of proposition, manifesting "decisions" that induce to work in a certain sense, based on an understanding of the problem expounded by an analysis of the comprised semantic fields.


In respect to the initial steps to carry out inside a general project of development of the virtual poetry, one could shortly mention the following: one should consider the use of virtual reality applications development software (also known as VR authoring), real time computing hardware (ultra-high polygon rendering performance) and VR interface devices (HMD&Track, spaceball, immersion probes, etc.) for the development of an interactive environment that supports vpoetry 3D models and let them to be "manipulated" appropriately, modeling its behaviors with a large series of reactions like objects in the real world. For example, a VP model could react by impact, presence, shot ... spreading its structures, morphing its geometry into alternative models, playing sounds, setting particular colors in response to certain semantic attributes or of other kind, associating or linking with other models within the virtual environment. "Linking functions refer to or call up other textual sectors related by some form of syntactic, semantic, etc., mark (a similar process to &laqno;associational memory», in which a "fragment" recalls the "whole"). This behavior "launches" an opening of the text similar to the complex arborescence characteristic of the Global Semantic Universe ... (or) ... the solicitations of a signic unity by moving it in space, in such as way as to make evident through its new position the connections which act simultaneously in any of its aspects and which conventional syntactic ordering, with its tendency to linear semanticity, represses."(9).


The opening of this domain "inhabited" by vpoems connected to the Net will be a future stage. This will provide remote access from any computer to other established as the "base"; "sharing" the Virtual Poetry Domain with whoever puts on a head-mounted display or any other visualization device, feasibly "telnets" to the system, wires to it and takes a "cyber-reading-tour". You could move about the domain by gesturing with your data-glove, viewing the texts as they are generated (rendered) with the information stored in the VP computer. You could interactively specify "flyby" paths so as to "float" above the vpoems to "read" them from many angles, reaching out to "touch" them, etc. This sort of wired process is not available yet, but undoubtedly will be in a few years, since the field of VR and the Internet are rapidly expanding; in fact, already in the world wide web - with languages like the VRML-a slight approach to these future experiences could be appreciated. One could also conceive of the existence of supercomputers that centralize the activity of these domains providing something as well as a public service of attendance to the poetic creation "in which all the activities of information production are developed in an integrated manner, allowing for the renovation and updating of the materials it contains, seeing that the process of gestation, emission, reception, critique and re-alimentation (or feedback) of messages must take place inside it,without any transposition to external media -which lighten the burden of the "specific weight" of that which was digitally conceived"(9).


The semiotic development of "a universal text, in which units from numerous codes and languages can coexist, as occurs in the overall processing of information in the human brain ... - in which many networked routes are activated through neuronal connections, showing the competence of all signs, even if from the "furthest" field which for whatever reason is connected to the unit which initially enters the cerebral "space"- (9), from within the digital domain and by means of a large series of tools specially designed for this purpose will imply the use of a new graphic 3D interface. That is to say, in the previous points I mentioned, vpoetry models appear in the domain after they have been made up with the use of Autocad or Microstation programs. It also happened with the models here shown in still images. Thus, creation process takes place outside the interactive environment where its products would be settled at last. On the contrary, the required aided creation system may not only permit the discernment of qualities of previously inserted models and patterns by an "immerse" reader or a re-creative intervention over the original materials but also the entire series of operations - already with specific incumbencies to an "artificial brain" - to internally produce virtual works with poetic extend by an "immerse" creator.


Summarizing, what will characterize, in my opinion, the poetry of the XXI century already linked intimately to the computer world will be in fact their category of virtual and intelligent object that like a "true "live" and open to interconectivity organism"(9) will evolve uninterruptedly toward all-embracing stratums of high information. BA., November 1996.


1 An exigence of global artificiality, Seminar "Art and Virtual Reality", Department of Art of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters - University of Buenos Aires - Argentina, 1994.

2 Electronic circuits with a highly parallel architecture designed according to the current knowledge of neuro-physiologic morphology.

3 Criteria for a virtual poetry, BA, 1995,

4 especially after having become aware of his work EntropÌa/Lenguajes, Editorial Hachette, BA, 1989.

5 Poetry and mixed systems, Estiajes, Ediciones La Guillotina, BA, 1994.

6 Work composed with around 3700 words, formulating &laqno;consignas» ñindependent tracks like modular objects (related fairly with object-oriented programming concepts)- that could be add &laqno;by chance or election" assembling "collections" of abstract data.

7 Or that the semantic message consolidates around a certain conceptual line.

8 Even in an almost unintelligible speech, certain eminently morphological formations could remain that in any way sustain it at least like text -that is to say, like disposition of significants- validating any aspect which could be understood as poetry, even some visual.

9 Towards the digital domain, BA, 1995,

10 And exposes it theVectorial Theory of Semantic Fields of the same Garcia Mayoraz, sketched already in the mentioned work.