Banana Poetry is an experimental, interactive mechanism for the generation of computer poetry whose starting point is the research of mechanical, visual, and deconstructive poetry. The work was first presented in 2006 when it powered a sound source with the help of bananas and lemons. A mechanical computer voice recited new poetry generated from Croatian classic poems such as Voćka poslije kiše by Dobriša Cesarić, “reconstructed” in a punk rock, hard-core style.
The drive of Banana Poetry 2 still consists only of energy derived from fruit, but the software and hardware are brought to an entirely new level. Hundreds of fruits still power the microcontroller and the work’s interface, but the software is more precise and complex, and the hardware produces enough energy to fully supply the microcontroller that generates poetry.
In relation to the use of language, the breaking of linguistic structures comes to the foreground in order to express a poetics of the new through the intentionally created unintelligibility. The user interface designed for Banana Poetry 2 enables re-combination and mixing of the originals, which will result in new collections of poetry. Poetry is subject to interaction, so visitors can choose not only the content, which is available from the bases, but also the style of writing, that is, the form in which poetry can be generated, such as cookbooks, rhymes, or Haiku. The basis for the “production” of poetry of the advanced version of Banana Poetry 2 are capital works from the humanities and natural sciences, such as Marx's Capital or Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, spiced with recipes from first-rate cookbooks and trashy erotic literature, which ultimately creates completely new “flavors” of poetry.
But Banana Poetry 2 is not only some kind of neo-avantgarde postulate which aims to entertain us. The installation contains a number of references to the historical avant-garde art which emerges as a reaction to the social reality and to the rigidity of traditional artistic canons. This is a work that examines the relations within the art field and what art can offer to society as a whole, in a time interwoven with consumerism and superficiality.
Randomly generated poetry, which seems to arise from a cybernetic vision of the Garden of Eden, least of all brings enjoyment in the arts with its quirkiness. It functions more as a wake-up call to action.
technical support: Željko Krpetić (hardware), Dubravko Kuhta Tesla (power plant)
production: KONTEJNER (DIY_ARTLAB)