The interactive installation ci-poetry simulates the concept of collaborative coding or continuous integration (CI) through generative poetry creation. The installation has been designed for the specific context of R1, the first experimental nuclear reactor in Sweden, now dismantled and used as a cultural venue. In the installation, a collective poem is composed and sonified by 12 “poets” who each contribute with a line of their own source poem.
Participants trigger a collaboration by touching one of the capacitive sensors placed on 12 rails in the hall. A random line from their poem is chosen and placed instead of a random line in the collaborative poem, successfully merging their contribution with the existing poem. If two or more poets happen to edit the same line, the merge fails, and the changes are not recorded, symbolizing the behavior of collaborative software tools.
The generated poem is then sonified into an arrangement of chords varying with each poem edit. The text of the poem is synthesized through a text-to-speech engine and read out loud in an artificial voice. The collective poem is also projected in real time in the hall.
The installation was active during the reception of the Castor Software Days and the Continuous Integration Art Hackathon which took place on the evening of October 14th 2019. Throughout the evening, the installation collected the history of each generated poem, beautifully visualised by Thomas Durieux.