Generative Visual Renku: Poetic Multimedia Semantics with the GRIOT System

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

A polymorphic poem (polypoem) is a generative digital artwork that is constructed differently upon each instantiation, but can be meaningfully constrained according to aspects such as theme, metaphor, affect, and discourse structure. The Generative Visual Renku project presents a new form of concrete polymorphic poetry inspired by Japanese renku poetry, iconicity of Chinese character forms, and generative models from contemporary art. Calligraphic iconic illustrations are conjoined by the GRIOT system into a fanciful topography articulating the nuanced interplay between organic (natural or hand-created) and modular (mass-produced or consumerist) artifacts that saturate our lives. GRIOT, which is a system for composing generative and interactive narrative and poetic works, is used to semantically constrain generated output both visually and conceptually. On the one hand, this project extends the GRIOT architecture's support for composing graphics and has resulted in new theory to provide cognitive and semiotic groundings for the extension. On the other hand, as a work of art, it is self-reflexive in that the content concerns the modularity of consumption and production in many contemporary post-industrial societies, while the research agenda and theoretical framework are concerned with modularity of semantic units in digital media arts.

Since the industrial age, modularity has revolutionized our everyday lives. For the sake of efficiency and optimization, things and activities were shaped into mass-produced interchangeable units, including our furniture, our dwelling places, our commuting, our consumptions, our entertainments, and our identities. In consumerist societies, modularity always lies at the center, whereas the complements are just scattered peripheries. Life is a journey back and forth between clustered majorities and isolated minorities.

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Title Developers Year initiated
Griot System D. Fox Harrell, Joseph Goguen 2005
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Jill Walker Rettberg