Dynamic Poetry

1994 - 1997


Digital media force us to look at traditional media in a new light, both in terms of how works of art and design are produced and how users receive those productions. Digital media’s ability to subsume the functionality of many other media means that artists and designers have an extraordinarily powerful tool with which to work; at the same time, a tendancy to focus on functionality has retarded the development of both a mature aesthetic and a conceptual framework specifically suited to this new form of communication.

Dynamic Poetry explored the consequences of developing a computer-centric aesthetic while simultaneously improving functionaity. Composed equally of theoretical and historical investigation and practical experimentation, the Dynamic Poetry project investigated ways of re-designing the inscribed word for a computer-based environment. As the many attempts to make a useful electronic book have shown, simply transposing words from the printed page to the bit-mapped screen does not create an expanded reading experience. Instead, these attempts accentuate the failings of the machine and fail to leverage its strengths. Furthermore, when text appears alongside sound, video and animation, it becomes very evident that the behavioral and temporal possibilities of text have not been well explored. In well-designed computer-based work, one can see how most of the major components establish presence through movement and change. Yet, hyperlinking and deconstructive fonts aside, the text in digital media remains as inert and commonplace as it has in 450 years of printing.

Part of the maturation process for the digital medium will require that text move beyond what we expect of it from its life in the printed environment. Those who work with text in the digital environment will need to developed a more nuanced understanding of interactivity, particularly in the confluence of program dynamics, user responsiveness and time control.


puzzling through several lives

painting with text

silence is a monster

talking past one another

Dynamic Typography
getting the text movin'


Dynamic Poetry: Introductory Remarks to a New Medium