Poetic Computation: Reader is beautiful, as history and poetry, aesthetically and textually. I loved how it was visually designed and the interactivity. For me, this aesthetic provided a certain serene, peaceful space to enter into the text. I found that I was able to focus and read slowly in a way that often doesn’t seem possible reading on the internet, multitasking, clicking through tabs. It encouraged a calm presence. I also see this aesthetic and interactive design as a way to provide more accessibility than a typical internet text. The options to adjust the style and legibility of the text and page open up ways for many different types of readers to engage with the piece, for example, the option to turn on “Dyslexia Mode”. I am curious about how this concept could be further implemented.
Choi’s words are equally calming and accessible. He writes of poetics - “poetics of code” and “poetic effect of code” and these concepts are multi-layered, as framework to the piece (Choi’s writing off feels like poetry: “How can we communicate the dawn and the dusk? And the seasons between spring and summer? The emotions that we don’t have words for?”) and also as possibilities to interact with computers in a more artistic, thoughtful and even radical and political way.
In Chapter 1, Choi specifically addresses the latter after providing a history of the computer. His alternative approach was interesting in relation to the other readings we’ve done in class, many of which have been about rigid visions of a technology that is all-encompassing. I also fear technocracy and Choi’s framing of art and poetry as well as a call for deeper engagement with the ethics of computers as they quickly evolve provided something hopeful for me. It may not be a complete solution but he seems to be asking the right questions. And he asks excellent questions - “What should we do with our brain? How can we create work that challenges the present moment? How can we use technology for subversive purposes?”
In Chapter 2, Choi discusses memory, both in computer and the human. He examines the labor and cultural prioritization of remembering but argues that forgetting is equally necessary for living, thinking, creating. This brought to mind the book I’m currently reading, The Queer Art of Failure by Jack Halberstam, which is about the idea of failure as an alternative to capitalistic ideas about success. It is about unknowing and unbecoming. Forgetting may be a way of failing.
I am also excited to know about Taeyoon Choi and his other artwork. I explored some of his other work, his paintings and installations, and it seems to me that what he is doing as an artist/activist and educator is extremely crucial work in our quickly evolving technological world.