20 March 2007

Ron Silliman has a link to a new site housing bpNichol's computer poems. Poems from 1984. The work has been translated from the Apple IIe (my first computer) to the internet age and thus preserved.

or go here for a direct link to the javascript

The poems are not remarkable as examples of technology, but they are remarkable for transliterating Nichol's work to the dynamic page. Some of the poems, such as "silent sound poem," mimic Nichol's voice. Other's, such as "Construction 1" and the off-screen love poem make more extensive use of the possibilities of mobile text.

The discussion by the creators of the page is perhaps the most interesting part of the site -- Jim Andrews, Geof Huth, Lionel Kearns, Marko Niemi, and Dan Waber -- for drawing attention to the danger of advancing technology in the computer age. As programs become instantly obsolete, the work of recuperating them and sustaining significant works created through those programs, becomes ever more onerous. In this case, a 4000 line work by Nichol to create a short montage of digital poems required extensive labour to resuscitate. It is a good thing they have done by so doing. The site as a whole demonstrates the rapidity of technological change and the changing role of archivists now and in the future.