Computational Poetics

  • Green and yellow artwork that looks like neurons, with text overlaid

Computational Poetics

Curated by Hannah B Higgins and David Familian


October 1, 2022 - January 14, 2023
Opening Reception: Sat., Oct. 1, 2:00 p.m

Beall Center for Art + Technology

In FORTRAN IV, the 1960s programming language of computational poetics (for the purpose of this exhibition), a meaning unit (A) can equal itself (A) plus 1. In other words, instead of fixing meaning, computational poetry already exists, always exists, and in a state of transformation.

“Computational Poetics” surveys human/computer collaborations in poetry, with historic work from the 1960s and contemporary experimentation. From the 1960s to the present, emerging computer and telecommunications technologies have necessitated a fundamental rethinking of language. This half century includes transitions from mainframe to personal computers, from individual computers to the internet, from a fleshy conception of the human body to one dominated by lettered genetic code, from western-dominated humanist-based faith in historical progress to a postmodern and postcolonial collapse of ethos with regards to race, class, and gender norms. Each of these technological shifts both generates and responds to cognitive and linguistic mutations. As mutations, these shifts and as such are less random, or chance based than one might suppose. Rather, language changes through emerging use. 

Language has met the challenge of computation by accelerating, leaping off the page, expressing its embodied nature, abbreviating itself, visualizing, sonifying and then joining the landscapes of the Anthropocene. Artists and poets play a critical role in this transformation by exploring and exploiting the ever-expanding misalignment between literary and technological culture. These experimental artists and poets directly oppose the authority structure of normative writing associated with the printed word in ways that include (but are not limited to) poetry as read, poetry as expressing raced, gendered and classed models of authorship and expertise, and poetry as disembodied mediation. 


  • Eric Andersen, Christian Bök, Cesar & Lois, ​Jon Corbett, ​​Clint Enns, Ma​ry Flanagan, Tori Foster, Tiffany Funk, Kenneth Goldsmith, Dick Higgins
  • Alison ​Knowles, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Jackson Mac Low, Nam June Paik, A​l​lison Parrish, Bill Seaman​, Sasha Stiles, and Emmett Williams

IMAGE: Cesar & Lois, Degenerative Cultures: fire and water, 2022; Book with Physarum polycephalum (microorganism) growth. Photo courtesy of the artists.


Free admission




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October 1, 2022 - 12:00 pm to January 14, 2023 - 6:00 pm
January 14, 2023 - 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Reception Date: 
October 1, 2022 - 2:00 pm