The Fabric of Cultures Poem Methodology

The Fabric of Cultures poem

is a weaving of other people’s writings.  It was inspired by the recycling efforts of Eugenia Paulicelli’s project Fabric of Cultures.

Making “new” clothing involves using materials that already have a production history to create something new and, in the best cases, personally impactful.  Recycling is the concept of reusing elements that inherit the same materials used in the creating of fabric, but also have participated in the history of a larger, more “final”, product, thereby retaining some of its history as an object of culture while becoming novel, unique and meaningful in its present context.

The “technologies” used in the production of this poem “fabric” include:

  • ​​Using a bigram generator to absorb longer texts and create new relationships between the words and concepts in said texts.  Texts used include the following authors: Lawrence Lessig, William Shakespeare, Edoardo Sanguineti, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Artur Rimbaud, Marcel Proust, Eugenia Paulicelli
  • Weaving in whole lines/statements from the same and other authors: Proust, Ungaretti, Sanguineti, Paulicelli, Frank O’Hara, James Gleick, Charles Babbage
  • Editing the output to smooth out the seams and to take advantage of language’s ability to mean and to imply further possible meaning, while foregrounding textual image and the “sound” of poetry — which does not need atmospheric vibration to be heard.

The result is a palpable surface.  There is no meaning to the whole beyond the possibilities of meanings evinced therein by the materials and their relation.  It is meant to be beautiful to the ear and the mind without forcing itself to conform to a narrative of meaning.  The “author” claims authorship by virtue of its construction and the deep relationships he has and has had with the authors used.  He is well aware that the words, and much of the grammar, are not his in the traditional sense.”

— James R. Garfield