Andrew Compana’s 自動化 || Automation, a PDR web exclusive, is an experimental online poem that generates (and speaks aloud) surreal subway messages in English and Japanese.
The poem uses the syntax of the familiar announcement “１番線ドアが閉まります。ご注意ください。” (“The doors on platform one are closing. Please be careful”). Every eight seconds, a script generates a new line by randomly selecting the platform number, subject, verb, and exhortation from a preset list. It displays the result on the screen and then generates a new line. Browsers capable of speech synthesis (e.g., current versions of Google Chrome) will also read the text aloud in either English or Japanese.
Andrew Campana was born and raised in Toronto, and now lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. He is currently working on his Ph.D. at Harvard University in Japanese literature and media studies, and is a member of the Trope Tank laboratory at MIT which does research and creative production relating to literature and computation. He has done readings of his poetry in Boston, Toronto, and Tokyo, and his work can be found in On Spec Magazine, Freeze Ray Poetry, Voicemail Poems, and Gendaishi Forum (現代詩フォーラム).