©2019 by Sebastian Vidal.

The Poetry Machine

2012

Task Management Made Easy

The idea for the poetry machine was conceived as a response to musings about Dada. We wanted to create something that combined machinery and poetry for the “Navidada” – a Christmas Dada event in Barcelona, Spain in 2009. Our initial question was could we create a machine which would generate poetry? 
Our next, more interesting question, was could we imagine and construct a machine which would extract a poem from within someone else? Would it work, regardless of how blocked or ‘unpoetic’ a person supposed herself to be? What followed was weeks of random, spontaneous and excited discussion about how we would design a machine to effectively procure a person’s innermost thoughts, desires, feelings and responses and use these to process a poem which would correspond to them.
Fearing that we may not have the technical expertise to do this alone, we serendipitously came across Bert and Frank, two unemployed technicians who, though lacking a poet’s sensibility, had the skills necessary to execute the design of our brain-child and operate the machine once it had been built.
The success of the machine’s first outing was unforeseeable. Installing it at the Navidada in an art space in Barcelona we had little more expectation for Bert and Frank than an evening of drinking beer and discussing their favourite cartoons. However, they were run off their feet! The machine became an industrial hub of activity with so many clients on the waiting list to go through it that they simply could not process everyone.
After several more events with the analogue machine, the logical next step was to bring The Poetry Machine online, to reach out to as many people as possible, in as many different places, to continue turning on the switch, converting people into poems.