Experimental interactivity at The Steel House

Jul 29, 2014
The Steel House, a center for design, technology and education, is in the former Bench Dogs facility in Rockland’s North End.

Rockland — The public is invited to take in, and partake in, an evening of “Appearing As Words,” an interactive and experimental poetry performance, Saturday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m. at The Steel House, 711 Main St.

The Steel House’s Nathan Davis has been collaborating with Madison, Wis., poet Lewis Freedman to develop an immersive and interactive method of poetry performance. The result is a software system that dynamically “writes” poetry according to rules that Lewis has developed and then distributes this poetry among the smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices of people in a room.

Members of the audience become ad-hoc performers as they read aloud the poetry as it appears on their mobile devices. The poetry is distributed and timed so that each individual’s part is unique: one might say the same word as a neighbor, but one might not; one might wait 10 seconds before saying the next word or wait half a second. Participants can wait in one place or mill about and enjoy the company of strangers saying strange words or just sit back and watch and listen.

Attendees should bring mobile devices with web browsers, i.e, smartphones, tablets, iPads, etc.; RSVP to nate@rocklandsteelhouse.com or through Facebook.

Also, in a solo performance, acclaimed Blue Hill poet Steve Benson plans to play off a changing visual word score everyone will be able to see in projection. Benson has a long history of work with improvisational and mixed media poetry readings, much of it accessible on line in text or video.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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