Endemic Battle Collage

Geof Huth’s work Endemic Battle Collage is a 1985 experiment with computer animated poems- a precursor to the ones the class has seen this semester. Battle Collage consists of a few smaller poems made in the 1980s, and showed the potential of the personal computer for artists and poets alike, however, to a contemporary audience it seems inhibited by technological constraints. Huth, a concrete and visual poems critic, made Battle Collage to demonstrate his knowledge of poetry, using poems written in apple basic and adding to them both movement and sound.

color     rain     Sky glass

The poems vary in shape, movements, speed, and sound. Some of the poems move too rapidly for an immediate analysis while others are very simple. The first two are made of shapes and color, the next with variations of the rhyming words sky, glass, and ask. The third poem consists of only the letters in “rain” which fall in the shape of raindrops.  Likewise, the next poem simply spells “inch worm,” and the movement of the inch worm is created by typing more I’s and W’s and the proceeding poem also incorporated the elements of sound and movement to create a visual “echo.”

inch worm     deconstruct     repeat 

The final poems are very visually substantive, and with gibberish type being transformed into words, then those words being erased and transformed into new arrangements and even new words (and foreign words). Ultimately the video ends with “these programs will repeat themselves until you stop them.” This 8:11 minute video does not repeat, but that statement has been a similar factor in the poems the class has viewed in this semester, that it’s often up to the reader to decide when his or her  experience is over. I’d be interested in what others have to say about this work, for instant, does it have strong qualities despite its limitations?

Begin: http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/huth_endemic/index.htm

  3 comments for “Endemic Battle Collage

  1. mstange
    March 17, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    I think this piece is really interesting once it’s put into context. When I first started watching and saw stuff like the falling rain and the inching inch worm, my mind kind of wrote them off as cliches. It’s weird to think that Elit has cliches already for something that is so young a medium. That being said, knowing that this is from 1985, I guess it isn’t really a cliche, because the inching worm of the echoing word “echo” could very possibly be new ideas in the world of e-poetry during the time.

  2. bmytelka
    March 19, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Talk about a headache. All that blinking black and white.

    Still, I like this. Unlike other electronic literature pieces we’ve looked at, this one feels less dated and more retro. It’s the elit equivalent of reading hieroglyphics, but it has a certain charm that other works we’ve seen just do not have. While it is unfair to compare this to a hypertext work, I feel like this one is far less dated than some of the early, clunky hypertext works with horrible UI. I like EBC for its simplicity and visual noise, it’s really something that could only captivate my attention on an older system and I think that’s why this works so well. You know that somebody is pushing the bounds of a dated technology.

    I hate to qualify every comment and post I make my comparing elit to regular lit, but EBC highlights what I like compared to regular literature. Compared to regular, electronic literature spends much of its time trying to push the bounds of its medium, whereas heavy experimental literature still finds itself printed in normal, unaltered book form. Novels like House of Leaves change things up, but few actually alter the page itself.

    Not that it’s important, but my favorite segments were “red thread” at 3:55, and “havoc” at 4:48.

  3. star
    March 25, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I agree. Although I do compare this piece of elit to “regular” lit I think it is useful to compare the two and see how one form is able to show things that the other could no do. Endemic Battle Collage was neat because of how it uses words. For example rain was portrayed in streams of sequences of the letters r, a, i, n and then of the illusion of rain falling the word drain is woven into the sequence. The same illusion is created with the word “inchworm”. as the “I” inches to the right side of teh screen and worm slowly formulates under the sequence of “I’s. Endemic Battle is indeed a virtual version of imagery poems.

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