Cyberliterature (Theory of the sitting man)

– Cyberliterature (“Theory of the sitting man”) (1977-1993), Pedro Barbosa –

Cyberliterature (1977-1993)’ includes six computer-generated poems, in Portuguese and English, which were originally programmed by Pedro Barbosa in 1976 using Fortran and Basic. This new version of Barbosa’s works includes, besides the generation of text, the source code of the poems, as well as detailed information about each poem. These pioneering works in the field of computer-generated literature inscribe notions of combinatory and aleatory poetry, in a multiple, variational, and repetitive reading that is semantically renewed. The JavaScript interface allows readers to stop, resume, and change the speed of the generation of the poems, which include: «Cities: Oporto» (1976); «Cities: Aveiro» (1976); «Four Elegies» (1977); «Theory of the Sitting Man» (1993); «Synthetic Letter» (1993); and «Aphorisms» (1980). The concept of Cyberliterature, as proposed by the author, aims to promote the generative potential of an algorithm, using the computer as an open or “semiotic” machine. In this case, we can observe that the basic combinatorial and generative algorithms promote a dialectic between virtual and actual, enhancing our perception of complexity in literature and in life.

in Electronic Literature Collection 3

About the Author:

Pedro Barbosa (b. 1948) has a Ph.D. in Communication Sciences (New University of Lisbon). At the University of Strasbourg, he developed research in the field of computer-generated art with Abraham Moles. Former Professor at the School of Music and Performing Arts of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and former Invited Professor at the University Fernando Pessoa, he founded the Center for Computer-generated Texts and Cyberliterature (CETIC). Author of Literatura Cibernética 1[Cybernetic Literature 1: Computer-generated Autopoems] (1977), A Literatura Cibernética 2 [Cybernetic Literature 2: A Synthesizer of Narratives] (1980), Máquinas Pensantes [Thinking Machines: Computer-generated Aphorisms] (1986), Teoria do Homem Sentado [Theory of the Sitting Man (Electronic Book)] (1996), A Ciberliteratura [Cyberliterature: Literary Creation and the Computer] (1996), O Motor Textual [The Textual Engine (Infinite Electronic Book)] (2001), and Ciberliteratura, Inteligência Artificial e Teoria Quântica [Cyberliterature, Artificial Intelligence and Quantic Theory] (2012).