Dystopic plagiarized platforms: found text, corrupted code, and robotic poetics.

Abstract (in English): 

The (auto)biography of 김정은 (2020) is a conceptual ‘found’ artwork in VII parts. It combines found code with found text. Multiple ‘found’ computational pieces have been modified with vocabulary drawn from multiple speeches delivered by the current North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un/김정은. In addition, vocabulary and phrases from journalism critical of the North Korean regime are also incorporated into these generative works. On the one hand, this work is an experiment in propaganda delivery: it emulates the relentlessness of the North Korean indoctrination machine and shows how born-digital writing can be stolen and misused; in so doing, it reveals digital literature’s power. As part of this process, a Kim Jong-un ‘poetic robot’ has been created to demonstrate how such propaganda might be delivered/forced upon a populace. This work also seeks to capture the perspective of a curious, intelligent yet powerless North Korean citizen and demonstrate how they might (struggle to) engage with local culture.

This paper reflects on this artwork in relation to Critical Code Studies (Marino, 2020). Specifically, it looks at how code can be adopted and exploited. Through practice-led research (Smith and Dean, 2009), this work deliberately exploits the code of multiple digital poets in order to show how such works might be corrupted. These subsequent works can be regarded as an example of third generation electronic literature (Flores, 2019). These works can also be regarded as an example of ‘overt plagiarism’ (Holland-Batt and Jeffery, 2020). If the works’ ‘fictional’ construction is believed, then it would be an example of ‘covert plagiarism’.

Additionally, this paper looks at how this code and corrupted poetry could be reformed into robotic poetics (Winder, 2004). Through this extension to robotic poetics, this paper extends the notion of Critical Code Studies, by extending it to robotics, and interrogating what impact such an artefact has on transforming the initial work.


ELO 2021: Identities and bodies panel 27th May 2021

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Daniel Johannes...