Willy Shakes

One of my favorite elit themes we’ve seen time and time again is the chaos of the works. Flashing images, cluttered displays, words and sentences changing just fast enough for the eye to perceive. I’ve likened it to noise rock; you can appreciate it, but you have to have an acquired taste to really get into it. In the same vein, more methodical elit twists the noise of pieces like DAK0TA and turns it into a slow, plodding drone. Instead of words per second, you have posts per several minutes, if not hours. Through Twitter, an account recently began its third cycle as it tweets every single line of Shakespeare on a ten minute interval.


Leonardo Flores, the author of the I <3 E-Poetry article on the Willy Shakes phenomenon, caught this post on his wall. I don’t follow enough people to get this sort of interaction, but it’s strange how the unofficial conversations between accounts work so well. This interaction could only work for one or two people at most, but it creates an amusing and unique experience. I’ve always just gone directly to people’s Twitter accounts to read, so the idea that you could just read your own wall as a collective narrative is fascinating to me. Combining it with @everyword probably has potential.

As for the project itself, it makes Shakespeare interesting. I think it’s safe to say that anybody who took an English class in middle and or high school had to read at least one of his plays or sonnets. While they are well-written, I personally find it and most extremely dated works tedious compared to any modern works (to its credit, the Beowulf film went out of its way to make sure the source material was by and far the superior product). This breathes new light into the classic novel, and I don’t just mean that in the way a middle school teacher might attempt to rap in order to “reach out” to their students.  Shakespeare has always been reimagined and reinterpreted, but the few electronic works I’ve seen might just throw a nod to the playwright. This project adds a bit of absurdity to his works without completely derailing them. You still get to read all the famous soliloquies without somebody throwing in some modern reference, but the posts are so overwhelmingly mundane that they manage to work as a collective, to highlight individual artistic lines, or to absorb and repurpose the original text with other authors posts.




  1 comment for “Willy Shakes

  1. scolliga
    March 31, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    I really appreciated your image of “a middle school teacher […] attempt[ing] to rap in order to ‘reach out’ to their students,” because there are definite feelings of a desperate effort to infiltrate youth culture to say “Willy Shakes is the bomb, yo, just check his sick Twitter page!”
    The fact that the lines from his work are left intact, however, makes it seem more pure than that, if only slightly. I think it’s an appropriately timely idea to be able to look at your Twitter feed and see a solid excerpt of Shakespeare every day. As far as I’m concerned it’s a much better approach than a desperate gamble with pop culture in a depressing classroom or, God forbid, a Baz Luhrmann adaptation.

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