Merged with the Screen for Days

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Simulating computer-mediated environments that dominated our lives in 2020, in merged with the screen for days, computer-generated stanzas that move across a four-array structure play unpredictably together -- allowing, if the reader generates several versions, multiple views.

The history of generative poetry is referenced in the background by Jonathan Swift's Lagado Engine from Gulliver's Travels. (the drawing probably did not appear until the 1727 third edition). Swift imagined this engine as a satire that predicted where literature, art, and science would go astray centuries later. But for years, I have been haunted by the beauty of his illustration. 

In the first column, backgrounded by the Lagado Engine, some of the texts are taken from The Roar of Destiny, a work I began in 1995, while I was working full time online for Arts Wire. In The Roar of Destiny, I wanted to simulate the merging of real life and online life that occurred when at least half of one's life was spent online. I recall that we thought that many other people would soon be working in this way. But that did not happen until 2020, when it was mandated by an epidemic. 

The other columns were written in response to COVID-isolation. The title, merged with the screen for days, is taken from a line in The Roar of Destiny. 

My work with computer-mediated generative literature began in 1988 with the generative hypertext system that I devised for the third file of Uncle Roger and subsequently used to create its name was Penelope in 1989. In my creative practice, a literary "engine" -- that I design, code, and write -- seeks to fulfill an individual vision that would be difficult to convey in print. 

merged with the screen for days is available at 
https://www.narrabase.net/merged/merged_cover_index.html 

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Judy Malloy: Merged with the Screen

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Irene Fabbri