Diamonds in Dystopia

A web-framework for interactive poetry performance.

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About the project

“Diamonds in Dystopia” is an interactive, live-streaming poetry web app that takes the audience through the sensory decisions and experience of creating a poem collectively. The audience acts as collaborator by sending word selections that resonate with individual users by tapping them on their mobiles to trigger Markov chain reactions, creatively data mining 2500+ TED talks to send an improvisational stanza and audio effects as a performance enhancer to the poet on stage. The individual taps coming from the audience also trigger synthesized audio effects at varying pitches to create a musical experience as well as contributing to the visual projection of the poem. Created by Vincent A. Cellucci (poet and CxC Art + Design Coordinator), Jesse Allison (Professor of Experimental Music), and Derick Ostenko (Professor of Digital Art), the app uses advanced coding techniques to aggregate TED Talk transcripts as found text to generate a collective conscious sound installation and interactive web app from a foundational poem that Cellucci created using the same Markov chains creative process, which enables succinct recombination of massive amounts of language as source material. The app creators are interested in creative data mining and incorporating interactive media into performances that challenge people’s perceptions and expectations for the mediums of music, digital art and design, and poetry. Why? Because we’re pushing the traditional boundaries of technology, entertainment, and design (TED).


Seed Poem

Vincent A. Cellucci 
Bound by Digital Countries 
all know who you are whole-hearted  
                           you download an episode often 
        hold down apostasy jobs  
                              dancing sunlight in psychoanalysis  
                 new dimension     new struggle 
                 street view drop in the dow jones  
departs on facebook, twitter, google maps  
can't afford allegiance                  
                       rates "the 20th century expressed this"   
                                                            the positive forces  
                                    eliminate the common denominator  
                                                        all regularities  
                                                        steps toward unification  
                                       built borderless   cheap   even free 
                                       we farmed fish fisherman 
       assign values to the viewer 
                when streaming's easy  
                how we numb 
used to watching 
                                 people drown 
                                 everybody today 
unraveled connection 
                     everyone elements  
                     answer particles      an hour of sea 
each and every year 
                  wasn't taken for granted           
                  there are 14,000 planes 
the amount of salmon              to disappear  
but are there interfaces 
                                               that tell of great nature? 
                                               we often say to companies  
                                                      eating themselves, evolve  
                               it becomes a threat to spark a solution 
                                                              and we keep growing 
                                             say this is what I found 
                                             attempting to reach outside  
                                                        the world and make way                
                                                        complicit comeback  
                                       of the collaborative  
                                                    red-eye flock 
                                                    don't mind stepping back for clean water 
                                                    the radioactive boys of dust  
threaten observers        
committed organic  
                                     ubiquity of gluttons 
                                                           outside interference 
                                                           felt like today 
                              a fish    now two    blooms 
                              mean moon phenomena  
                              symmetries struggle cyborgs 
                   the certainty of domination  
                   preferred by our elders   
                   defines the nowhered 
                                                       coded origins story  
                                     opaque day-to-today biology  
                                     mode of mud 
matter provided 
man analyzed Eden  
then analyzed  
                            the people 
                            the good and the grave 
                                              one garden; we script war 
                     cross-hairs two tiny lines joined against 
                     our utopia is our apocalypse 
                                                       cripples water 
                                          people taking shelter  
                                          as if concern were an 
enforced homelessness 
                                    the dream of infrastructure 
                                                   limited to the global 
                                                   intimately unscathed  
                                                   we tool the endless pursuit  
                                       one which does not us 
                       manufacturing a hi-tech public 
                        industry synthesis 
                      teller technology  
                      electronics educated  
the age of eyes  
                                out of visible energies  
                    arises art  
diamonds in dystopia  
                        the conditions that carry  
                                     fear in the patient  
               superb skin  
               liquid parts 
lights in the shape of your birthday 
we want the real and painstaking  
                  to draw it out as far as planets  
                  everyone who stopped by responded  
                                                   with a crisis 
                                                                solution says 
                                    I would haven 
                                                    withholding petroleum  
                        essential fuel technology  
                        gaping social mirrors  
 mediated Earth  
                     coal-fired population  
                                                   who doubts today 
                                            many need its waste  
                                            death is building its answers 
I'm gonna compare stars  
       go adaptable  
       25 microbes without  
                                        we do we knowledge  
            come on Earth  
    toxic therapy  
                              discuss this child 
                                                          too expensive to let  
                      under evening thriving  
 irrigating minds:  
 the one prototype for change  
                 more giving systems  
                 sea-sized leaks  
                   deepwater indulgence  
                   the justice problem when  
I start talking about failure 
             won't fix the fissures  
             we started for our children  
                  up to 26 minds' depth      
                               joined in diameter 
     drilling your blue stage of flame 
     80% hydrated victorious  
         spent to give and give 
  I throw about forever  
 "I want to touch it for a minute"