In 1967, when computers and film were still in their infancy, Stan Vanderbeek and Kenneth Knowlton created some of the first digital literature. “Poem Field” is a poem, a computer-generated piece of literature, and, all at once, a film. In 2015, the work is available for viewing on Youtube at in the AT&T digital archives. “Poem Field” was created on Knowlton’s BEFLIX computer language on an IBM 7094 computer (AT&T Archive). The poem is situated within a larger body of work; it exits within a series of eight poems created at the same time. VanDerBeek collaborated with Knowlton at Bell Labs, which let artists work with computer scientists to experiment with technology and computer science.
In 2008, Jenny Holzer recast the iconic façade of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City with new light. Every Friday night from September 26 – December 31, Holzer’s text-based light project filled the face of the building with bits of borrowed poetry. Words scrolled upward in white, bold, all capital letters – the words came from the Nobel-winning Polish poet Wisława Szymborska. The project occurred at the end of a years-long restoration of the Guggenheim: the Museum had been fenced in by scaffolding so architects, structural engineers, and conservators could prepare for its 50th anniversary in 2009 (Guggenheim Museum Website). Continue reading “FOR THE GUGGENHEIM: THE NEW NATURE OF TEXT”