TERMINAL 1.0  ||  Programmed Poetry

Brion Gysin, Tiziana La Melia, bpNichol

September 8 – October 29

Reading by Tiziana La Melia,  October 1, 1:00pm

TERMINAL is a four-part installation project that examines single user interfaces, and the influence of technology on the adaptation of new artistic forms.  The project addresses itself to an idea of what different hardware units, operating systems, and user environments have offered to artists and to the viewers, readers or users of their work.  Each iteration of the project considers a touchstone in computer interfacing. Conceived as an exhibition in four parts, the project utilizes a single-user space at Western Front – our former ticket booth/reading room – to offer an intimate viewing experience that works away from the traditional spatial paradigm of a white cube.

Launching in September, the first installation looks at poetry programmed for computers, and offers an installation of bpNichol’s First Screening (1984)a series of poems written in Apple BASIC for home use on an Apple IIe.  The project expands beyond the gallery space to include a website, launching on September 8th with a series of Permutation Poems written by Brion Gysin that first appeared in 1960. While starting from the specificity of a single-user space, TERMINAL also asks what artists choose to use computers for, and how this can be figured amidst a wider set of material processes and concerns. Stemming from the expansive and playful legacies of writers like Nichol and Gysin, the project will also include a reading by artist and poet Tiziana La Melia, whose recent work The Eyelash and the Monochrome has addressed the computer user environment of Microsoft Word as a context and catalyst for her writing practice.

Special thanks to Remy Siu and Dan Pon for Apple II parts and advice. This project would not have been possible without the fastidious work of Jim Andrews at vispo.com, who took great pains to preserve bpNichol’s poems and make them widely available. Further thanks to Justin Filip for his work to adapt the existing Permutations Poems coding for online display.