ChangeEverything by Serge Bouchardon

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ChangeEverything by Serge Bouchardon is a very simple example of digital poetry.  It is a piece of generative poetry that takes a single word in a predetermined phrase at a time and replaces it with a synonymous word or phrase (the reader chooses from a selection of synonyms).

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ChangeEverything reminds me of both Telescopic text and Lipogram, and while it is neither of them, there are certainly similarities between the two.  In terms of Telescopic text, both concern the selection of a word and its expansion.  While Telescopic text expands on the word in terms of volume and quantity (entire paragraphs can stem from a single word), ChangeEverything’s transformative words only change to a similar word or phrase. In terms of Lipogram, both concern changing a single word to another single word with similar meaning.  The main difference with Lipogram is that the transformation is through the elimination of a singular letter.

One of the phrases I played with was “All the world is a stage and men and women nearly players.”  Through several changes, it eventually read “All the existence is a catwalk and men and daughters of Even merely actor.”  The changes through synonymous words and phrases prove transformation through contexts, connotations, tone, etc.  It shows the power that while words may be synonymous, the ideal of representation conveys different meanings based off of our perception of words.

ChangeEverything exemplifies how one word can change the entire meaning of a sentence.  Despite the piece’s simplistic interactivity, the idea that minute details can have drastic effects is powerful.  It is mirrored in Bouchardon’s non-complexity.  I find it ironic that such transformation can be made through a singular word.

  4 comments for “ChangeEverything by Serge Bouchardon

  1. mstough
    April 14, 2014 at 12:05 am

    I agree that this seems like a mix of Telescopic Text and Lipogram. I especially enjoyed how this one kept the previous sentence and it slowly faded away as more changes were made. Many of the other works we interacted with did not keep a record of what changed, so this definitely seemed to focus more on the slow progression of changes and how the memory of the initial sentence slowly fades away. I think the sentence being altered and edited can be resonant to how a person changes overtime and how we eventually forget what they were like four years ago, but still remember what they were like four months ago. I enjoy how there’s a lot more to be taken from this than just the external experience.

  2. karmakona
    April 14, 2014 at 11:44 am

    You make no mention of the audio subtext of this piece. Is that an accordion playing? With a piano key sound every time the player changes a phrase or clicks on the sentence, causing it to be recorded in grey above the work station. It is unsettling for me, the extended notes that are held for a strained long amount of time, to no discernible rhythm or pattern, with an eerie quality.
    I agree that I appreciate the aspect of recording the previous sentence structures that the player has made, it is helpful to be able to reference what was used before, and how the player transformed the sentence the way s/he did. When we walk down a path, we are able to turn around and see where we’ve just come from, and I like that part of the process in Change Everything.

  3. star
    April 16, 2014 at 11:12 am

    The audio sounds like a mixture of electronic sounds and string instruments. If I pause and let the audio play alone sound waves in and out of a discomforting mantra or hum. It reminds me of the sound a microphone makes when you put it too close to the speaker. Maybe that is something to read into. If I let the audio go on longer it starts to play its on piano notes. I think my favorite line I created was “I feel desolate no vestige of you”. The order is “I” , verb, adverb or proposition and adverb, “no”, noun, “of you”. None of the combinations of words are particularly happy or uplifting. Some are melancholy at best but most are very dissonant and sad.

  4. kmunnis
    April 18, 2014 at 6:18 am

    ChangeEverything is certainly an interesting piece with multiple elements. Compared to other works of similar works of digital poetry, this one stands out because of the permanence of the users past choices; each receding into the distance like real memories.

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