S is for Swarm

Field Study proposal excerpt

“S is for Swarm” is an independent project dealing with themes of swarm intelligence and computational creativity. In addition to researching the emergence of these fields, the student will begin building a series of computerized poetry machines that use altered genetic algorithms as word selection parameters. An example of this is Artificial Bee Colony algorithm.

Drawing on As Poetry Recycles Neurons’ larger themes of recycling, this project aims to repurpose the repurposed: the biological that has been recycled for the technological will once again be recycled for the poetic. What garbled message will emerge from this trail of antecedents? When the beehive’s search for honey is translated first into code and then into English, what digitalized honeycombs will be built? What residue of consciousness will the hive mind whisper?

This project seeks to complicate commonly accepted dichotomies, blurring the borders between the biological and computational, the poetic and mathematic, and considering the decentralized nature of swarm intelligence, the individual and mob. The interstices between these will serve as fertile soil, where nutrients will be recycled and poetry will grow.

ABCs and 123s – weekly log and field notes

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Bachelardian Reverie

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Term Paper Abstract

While echoing the structure of Susan Howe’s The Midnight, this paper contains two sections of lyric essays, two sections of/on poetics, and one of linguistic ellipses. In these, the author interrogates themes of generative poetry, swarm intelligence, and sense-making. Two possible frameworks for assigning meaning to objects—material and theoretical—are supplied: Philip K. Dick’s classification of “kipple” and Ian Bogost’s Latour Litanies. Within each paradigm, parts are combined to produce two vastly different wholes. Applying each framework to the craft of generative poetry, the author explores what happens poetically when these parts are entrusted with agency. This is done so through genetic algorithms and NetLogo, an agent-based modeling environment.

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