Posts for Category | Electronic

Speculative Computing as Methodology

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Author
Benjamin Laird

Primarily, my project The Code of Things is researching the differences in the representation of a person in biographical poetry across media. This of course has methodological implications: representing a person in biographical poetry requires an approach that takes historical information and reinterprets it as poetry.

In Dorothy Livesay’s essay The Documentary Poem: A Canadian Genre she writes that documentary poetry is “a conscious attempt to create a dialectic between the objective facts and subjective feelings of the poet”. And while I think there are differences between biographical poetry and documentary poetry, I still find Livesay’s suggested dialectic to be at the centre of both kinds of poetry.

Moving biographical poetry into programmable media immediately affects the process of writing poetry. Usually for me, writing print-based poems requires drawing in multiple sources and software—such as LibreOffice and Inkscape. While my poems in programmable media will often follow a ...

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On Building The Code of Things

Published
Author
Benjamin Laird

As I push more of the site into operation with real data it is apparent that certain design choices may not have been as great as I would have liked them to be. The advantage of using Django is, so long as I do not do anything weird with primary keys (I already did something weird with the primary key on one of my models and had to rebuild the whole database), I can use migrations to change the structure of the models.

Early on, one of the biggest compromises I made was to make the data fit the very loose data structures I was getting from Zotero. It is both strangely over specified, there are only certain item types you can have, and underspecified, there is no restrictions to the data going in a field, date can be “Spring”. Python is great at converting date data if it knows ...

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