SPINE SONNET: Automatic Poetry

February 21, 2012


Spine Sonnet is an app for iPhone and iPad that’s useless (if we believe in that dubious affirmation that states that poetry is useless). With a single tap on the screen, the lyrical software of Spine Sonnet generates random poems from the titles of more than 2500 books on architecture and art theory, criticism and history.

The idea for this app came from the Artists Respond initiative by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), in which several artists devise a web-based project to respond to one of the works exhibited in the museum. In this case Jody Zellen was inspired by the work of Steve Wolfe, who reproduces the covers of books and music albums in his paintings and sculptures. Zellen tells us how she has always been fascinated by the discovery of how the titles of the books piled on her desk become “something”. In Spine Sonnet, these become some sort of spatial metaphor of four volumes, arranged one on top of another, generating poems like this one, which will probably never repeat:

Moments, meetings, emotions
Wounded diva
Lost in the archives
The family of man
Void & voice
The art of recycling in Kenya
Weird Science
Journey to the end of species
Fashion fiction in photography
Dream factory communism
Visual music
Devil on the stairs

Spine Sonnet is free and can be downloaded here.

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