Inter(pre|in)vention is a digital poetry project that explores the transformation and production of language through collaboration as it enters the collective public sphere. Using a performative, network model, it utilizes Google's Web-to-Speech API to generate new poetry out of errant readings of Emily Dickinson's work.
Rather than perfect transcriptions, Inter(pre|in)vention models imperfect conversations between the public and machines--these errant readings, however altered through dialect or machine glitch, are birthings and sites of invention, places where the transformation of language occurs to generate new possibilities. We take the private activity of reading and turn it into a public, collaborative event. The project is especially interested in how we contribute and participate in the ever-changing cybernetic landscape of the web and the public sphere.
The resulting poems are displayed on a networked tree, mapping each one so that it is placed in a location depending on how similar it is to others around it, using its relative Levenshtein distance. This display can be viewed through several filters, including Emily Dickinson's most famous work, as well as many of her poems that conceptually question the same things we're after--what is it about publicity and exposure that creates a new generative artistic space, and how do we enter this expansive and unfolding public landscape? The mindscape that her poems are interested in entering mirrors the public textscape we're interested in mapping and understanding. We take the abstracted, mediated space of the commons of language and make it legible and tangible. We hope this project sheds light on the accessibility of language’s generative and productive potentials.