Linguistics, Multimedia, and Robotic Poetry

After reading this past weeks articles I began to think about media and linguistics in a different way. In Thomas Rommel’s article Literary Studies he quotes John Burrow, “it is a truth not generally acknowledged that, in most discussions of works of English fiction, we proceed as if 1/3, 2/5, or 1/2 of our material were not really there.” DH gives us a different and more analytic approach when looking at text. Recently we’ve worked with a website called Voyant,where we could see the themes, common words, and times a word was said in a text, or many texts. It’s weird that we don’t realize so many things unless it is brought to our attention. For example, I never really thought about IF (interactive fiction) being used in so many things i’ve seen and used on the Internet, however, it’s there and it’s a part of DH. We also got a chance to look further into multimedia this week. I took a class (Intro to Multimedia Journalism) in the past and that was even a lot to work with; studying all of the different platforms available in journalistic writing, as well as when and why to use which one. There are so many things that contain multimedia this day in age, especially since technology is constantly improving. I enjoyed looking at the Rosetti Archive, and Blake’s Contraries Games (based on the William Blake Archive). They both expressed that when things are “born digital” you typically don’t run into translation problems (as opposed to translating a piece of physical artwork onto the web). They also emphasized that multimedia contains many layers of meaning because they are both text and images. An archive/metadata are capable of putting together and organizing information so we’re able to access it and understand it, but can it organize meaning? Or will it ever?

Another aspect of our reading I thought was interesting was Robotic Poetry, which is a link, or relationship between language and robots. Is robotic poetry an art like actual poetry? It definitely isn’t capable of expressing emotion like actual poetry, but it is however, artsy and creative. “Actual” poetry is an odd term to use, is there an actual definition of poetry? Poems can be interpreted in many different ways. I’ve never personally read a “wrong” or not real” poem, so i’m not sure if any one person can say that robotic poetry isn’t poetry. Sure, it doesn’t have an actual author besides the site you used to create it but it’s still a poem. RP are poems generated by a computer system that follow rules and codes that a human tells it to. I enjoyed getting a chance to understand it a little more when we used OULIPO rules and generated our own robotic poem. RP really is a cool concept.

After learning all of these different concepts and aspects of DH this week, I think I can now actually confirm that DH is very broad. However, is DH more of an analysis, creating things, or both? I think both. Humanists are analyst, they don’t just consume. Digital Humanists, analyze and create, so your average user can access and understand what you analyzed through what you created. I can’t wait to start experimenting with more DH tools so I can get a better understanding of what this is all about.


2 thoughts on “Linguistics, Multimedia, and Robotic Poetry

  1. I think you have very interesting thoughts about the Robotic Poetry section. I had similar thoughts. I wonder if the poems that such computers are able to generate will get more “poetic” as technology keeps increasing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good discussion of how robotic poetry inspired to think about poetry more broadly, and a good response to our class discussion.

    It’s good to see that you’re getting a sense of the breadth of DH, and why it’s difficult to define, even for people who have been doing it for a while.


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