Web-based generative poetry


Words are but amalgams of letters. It is the relationship between words that gives them life and meaning. In this project, visitors contribute to the creation of dialogical entities, called vévés, taking a conversation based on the simple exchange of words. From this dialogue, the vévés learn, become more complex and evolve. They seem to be animated by their own will.


Our social imagination seems to be tainted with a certain idea: that of language as as source of creation and change. Combined to one another, the words become code, formula, poetry: they suddendly appear to be charged with something different, not only a new and unique meaning, but an identity, a breath of life, a free will.

This myth is far from being new: our history is full of its multiple incarnations. In revealed religions, writting and speech are the means of action of God’s will. This material incarnation of the “word made flesh” is also a central idea of magic and its different variations.

He who pierces the secrets of language, he who understands its inner mechanisms, has found the way to higher forces. How many have tried, and died trying? The alchemist, the cabbalist and the sorcerer have opened the way for the programmer, the neurologist and the geneticist. Through their writings, these poets have contributed to perpetuate the myth of the speech that creates and spawns life.

This idea is intimately linked to that of the construction of identity through language, by the means of the dialogue with the other and with nature. Words are only sequences of letters, which are just symbols made of strokes. There really is nothing behind them. It is only in their contextual connection with other words that they really come to life.

Vévé proposes an environment in which the visitor interacts with textual entities through written speech. By taking part in a conversation based on exchange of atomic words, the visitor contributes to the construction of these artificial beings: she teaches them new words, but also new semantic links. Through these poetic dialogues, the entities evolve as their behavior is shaped by interaction with their human counterparts. But there is still place for trials, errors and novelties: in this allegorical space, the artificial creatures often seem to act with their own free will.



CIBL “Radio-Montreal” 101.5 FM, “Le 4@6” radio program, interview with the artist. April 30th, 2008.


Direction: Sofian Audry
Audio: Alexandre Quessy
Production: Agence TOPO
Production assistance:
Guy Asselin
Véronique Briand
Michel Lefebvre
Esther Bourdages