Description (in English): 

Soothcircuit is a large-scale work of Web poetry that relies on interactive mechanisms inspired by the I Ching, an ancient Chinese oracle book. The work echoes the I Ching’s purpose of providing not so much glimpses into the future as insights into different situations. Each reader’s individual interaction with the work will produce a different combination of aphoristic stanzas. Each unique result can be approached as both a traditional poem and as a reflection upon the reader’s unique personal circumstances -- an oracular“analysis of the reader's current situation. If the reader addresses a question to the Soothcircuit, the reading can also be viewed as an (indirect) answer to the question.

Applying ancient oracle traditions to modern poetry puts a new slant on reader interpretation. Poetry often implicitly invites multiple alternative interpretations from readers. Many contemporary poets and critics contend that there is no fixed meaning inherent in any poem, but rather a “personalized” meaning is created by each reader as she brings her own experiences and biases to bear upon the text. Traditional oracle books present often prosaic lines of text to the reader as the result of a chance selection process and then explicitly require that these texts be interpreted in light of the reader’s personal situation. Soothcircuit combines an oracle’s explicit demand for custom interpretation with poetry's implicit need for subjective reading.

(Source: Author's description at Incubation3 conference site, trAce Archive)

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Scott Rettberg