Get creative with HTML and the literary word

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Get creative with HTML and the literary word

The Tusitala team regularly works with interns, and for the past two months, we’ve had Bảo Anh Bùi Nguyễn @bao.anh.bui with us, working on UI/UX design and programming.

Bao’s latest HTML project “Measure A Machine’s Heart (đo điện tâm đồ máy)” was featured on Earlier this year, it was also exhibited at Tusitala’s event,  “Synergy” which showcased art x tech works and talks for the creative tech community in Singapore.

Titled “Measure a Machine’s Heart“, Bao expanded on the theme of HTML elements replicating human organs, such as <head> and <body>, and added eyes and ears within the head that could either ramp up (light up) or fade away (burn out) depending on a few factors.

The visual style is reminiscent of the data you see on an ECG machine. Bao exposes the internal structure of digital entities with Web Development Tools as an output display. Transforming the website interface into a remote control (resembling a TV or aircon remote control), he effectively switched the roles, with the front end now operating as the back end and the back end serving as the front end.

His passion for HTML has inspired us to explore more in this latest blogpost on how HTML complements the literary word.

HTML is not used for creating complex logic or algorithms, but is often the first language aspiring web developers learn. Because of its ability to create interesting layouts and interactions, HTML complements the literary word well, especially in poetry.

“Creativity can be taken further when one embraces subtle elements within HTML writing, elevating them as poetic elements. For example, the html is no longer the tool to help realise the text-based poetry – they are the poem on their own.” – Bao 

HTML interactions offer limitless creative possibilities for poetry

How have people used HTML creatively for literary works? We looked at and  discovered many interesting works. Check them out:

1. Paramecium Dinner by @mora.kana
Curated by Maxwell Neely-Cohen and Shelby Wilson

An inter-specie feast of words, time, and space. As you slow down, wait, and observe, you will see the cells feasting on text. If you wait long enough, you will even see them digesting the words and pollinating them around. You are invited to type freely, to feed your thoughts to the paramecia. Slow down and read your collaborative poem cultured by you and the cells in the ecosystem.

MORAKANA’s work is characterised by experimentation, the development of custom tools, and scientific and artistic inquiry. By leveraging scientific principles and challenging the role of technology in our lives, MORAKANA invites us to think critically about plausible means for Nature to reclaim the physical and digital ecosystems we are part of.

2. Forest Void by Hannah Jenkins

In this project, Hannah Jenkins, an editor and poet specialising in digital platforms and online writing experiments created a set of 10 Square Stanzas that allows you to interact with it by clicking each letter to reveal the first few words.

From there, the rest of the poem unravels. As you click towards the next paragraph, earlier stanzas morph into hidden symbols and texts disappear until clicked again. She has many other interactive poetry works here

3. Establishing Secure Connection by Sarah Chekfa

“Establishing secure connection…” is a website composed of fragments of posts filed under the “missed connections section of Craigslist. In this section, people place ads or posts after a meeting but are too shy or unable to exchange contact details. 

In her project, Sarah has mined particularly poetic fragments from missed connections, sourced from the Craigslist branches of random cities. They flood the screen upon page load, as if typed by their authors, each at a randomly generated speed, inevitably overlapping.

Viewers can click the button and three fragments will self-select at random to — in the words of the Internet — establish a secure connection in the form of a poem. If you don’t e-mail it to yourself, you lose it forever (think of posterity, don’t make the mistake the authors did).

🔗View other great poems, essays, stories, and experiments at The HTML Review 

P.S.: Bao has finished his internship and is now looking for a full-time front-end developer job in Singapore from August. Connect with him at @bao.anh.bui

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