Everybody's Gone to the Capture

The English melancholia of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

This article is part of our lead-up to Kill Screen Festival where Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture artist Alex Grahame will be speaking. /// “These are the dark November days when the English hang themselves!” – Voltaire /// The English are known for a number of bred-in-the-bone traits but chief among them is a certain melancholia. There is nothing uniquely English about being a bit sad but history has latched it to us as part of our national character. Perhaps it is our artists who are to blame for this. John Dowland, the Elizabethan bard, is remembered for his motto: “Semper…

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Fragments of Him finds the everyday poetry of grief

It is very, very hard to talk about death and grief without falling into platitudes. But we have the elegy to save us from the cliché—that form of poem or writing that seeks to capture the abyssal depths of the writer’s despair over the absence of the departed and impart some singular meaning to that life and its end. Take, for example, the nineteenth-century poet, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who wrote In Memoriam, A.H.H. (1849) in response to the sudden death of his closest friend and future brother-in-law sixteen years earlier. The book consists of over one hundred and thirty smaller…

Emoji Poetry

Emoji Poetry is the literature class you never had

There’s an almost magical quality about tweets by Carrie Fisher, which probably half stems from the fact that I usually have no idea what she’s saying: her tweets are almost entirely in emoji, indiscernible like some new art form that I’m not cultured enough to understand. And with the rise of emojis changing the way we communicate for various mediums, I imagine that my confusion around their growing usage isn’t going to go anywhere. In comes developer Arzamas OOO’s new smartphone app, Emoji Poetry, a literary game where you drag the “appropriate” emoji into the empty spaces of a popular…


Glaciers writes poetry using Google’s most popular searches

Currently wrapping up its first weekend on display at New York’s Postmasters art gallery, Glaciers is the latest art project from Sage Solitaire (2015) creator and Tharsis systems designer Zach Gage, as well as several billion unknowing co-authors. The exhibit features a collection of small e-ink screens, each displaying a digital poem generated using the top three Google autocomplete results to a specific prompt, such as “how much,” “does he want,” and “should I save.” The poems refresh once per day, meaning that like their namesake, they have the potential to change shape and meaning over time. Though Gage is well known for his…


Umberto Eco and his legacy in open-world games

At the very end of his playful Postscript to The Name of the Rose (1980), Umberto Eco made a casually sibylline gesture toward the future of interactive fiction. “It seems,” Eco wrote, “that the Parisian Oulipo group has recently constructed a matrix of all possible murder-story situations and has found that there is still to be written a book in which the murderer is the reader.” And a few lines later, with a wink: “Any true detection should reveal that we are the guilty party.” The text either ends or begins here, depending on your interpretation. OuLiPo (Ouvroir de Littérature…


Generate tiny ominous landscapes with this procedural generation toy

Mirror Lake is a strange little thing. Made in a week for Procedural Generation Jam, it creates static black-and-white landscapes, nestled inside a giant patterned bowl and suspended in space. Sometimes the space is dark, dotted with stars and the occasional sun or moon or comet; sometimes it’s a vast white nothing, like a blank page. The tiny scenes inside the bowl change too, sprouting branchless trees and rolling mountains across wide meadows, shining grey lakes, and bright white salt flats. A few times, I didn’t even get a landscape at all. I’d click away from a particularly full terrarium…


Explore a lonely house in this videogame about accepting absence

If you’ve ever moved house you should be familiar with the peculiar act of emptying familiar spaces. In doing this myself, I’ve come to realize that memories not only lie within the objects we own but also the walls and floors we have them occupy. The difference is that we have to leave those memories behind with the architecture (it’s why I always take a long last glance of each empty room before shutting the door). There’s a sadness to this. I see this captured in Albert Lai’s (creator of 2:22AM) exploration game ten moons. He calls it a “mood piece…