Todd Anderson
Javier Arce
Chris Arnold & David Wright
Sotiri Bakagiannis
Kyle Booten
John Cayley
Angela Chang
Maggie Chang
Spencer Chang
Matthew DeMarco and Kate Hollenbach
Andy Dayton
A. Dorsk
Daniel Elfanbaum
Leonardo Flores
Vidya Giri
Jim Gouldstone
Claude Heiland-Allen
Chris Joseph
Jackie Liu
Nick Montfort
Agustin Rosa
Helen Shewolfe Tseng
Andy Wallace
Ted Warnell
Mark Wolff
Roopa Vasudevan
Katherine Yang
Toy box if not hefty tool chest, issue #12 of Taper offers 32 poems — programs — systems — for your delectation, play, and use. This issue is our largest yet.
In it is an intricate ASCII flipbook animation maker, allowing you to print out the results, and an app to apply filters to photos you have on your computer. (As with all productions in this issue, these are accomplished in no more than 2048 bytes.) There’s a curious drum machine — reading the note in the source code is recommended, as always. There are word-tools, too: a notepad for only a double handful of characters, a sticky-note system in which text becomes overgrown, and an automation of Harry Mathews’s method of rearranging words. A bit more tongue-in-cheek are the typing tutor to increase (and question) your productivity and the microminiature “AI tool” here, a chatbot. Two pieces present systems for composing short airs from which the words fade and devising new grammars to generate short, provocative stories.
Not to be eclipsed by recent events, there are poems astronomical, including one inspired by avant-garde photos that shows us striking Jovian moons. Another plots where our star and satellite are. Possible translations rotate around one text. Of the poems most directly tied to time, one counts up to proclaim how long the Web poem has lived while another counts down to state how little life you (dear reader) have left. Another clock offers an ambient alternative to typical displays; a poem progresses through the hours, representing dreams and impulses. Many Taper poems can be enjoyed momently; you should dedicate a year to meditate on this one. If you can’t spare that, listen to this composition for bells, which lasts just a bit over one and 3/5 of a day.
Dynamic digital texts are generated by a rural, roving force, flitting. From lists of a dozen possibilities, one poem renders chance performance scripts. With some levity, an Australian politician is pilloried in a “remix” of earlier computational poems. We are invited down a ladder into darkness; rising words consider how tools might be used to overcome. There’s an engaging (and never-ending) motion picture waiting for you in this issue, too. Chip away to reveal a shaped poem; let lines appear with the sunrise. Use a poem to enter words of your own and find words within; a tasty example shows how this can be productively done. Dig further and further into the everyday carry; try to finish up all those tasks. Imagine that the tools we use always help us forge ahead.
Each of the poems in Taper #12 is licensed as free software for you to use, study, modify, and share however you like.