An Anthology

Pictures by Guillaume Slizewicz

An installation in collaboration with Gijs de Heij, on the invitation of Sofiane Laghoouati, curator of ‘Bye Bye Future!’ in Musée Royal de Mariemont.

What poems would you like to include in tomorrow’s anthology? This installation allows you to generate sonnets that highlight nature elements or technologies, or neither. An artificial poet will work for you. If you are satisfied with the result, you can print the sonnet and take it home with you.

Each one of us is co-responsible for the images of the future that will shape tomorrow’s world. An Anthology takes this as a starting point. Like human artists, this artificial intelligence has been inspired by other authors. It uses One Hundred Thousand Billion Poems by Raymond Queneau, to write new sonnets by substituting nouns, respecting the metre and the rhyme. But of course, it makes mistakes.

In order to learn a semantic field of words related to nature and technology, the artificial poet read about 1400 novels by about 100 science fiction and fantasy authors, including well-known names such as Jules Verne, Guy de Maupassant, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, but also contemporary authors such as Anne Rice, Haruki Murakami, William Gibson and Iain Banks.

The artificial poet analyzed the novels using a neural network that calculates the linguistic context of words in a multidimensional space. He then relied on Lexique, a corpus of phonemes, gender and number of syllables developed by Boris New and Christophe Pallier of the University of Savoie Mont Blanc. Finally, An Anthologie makes the poem physical thanks to Plotto, a pen plotter from the 80s.


A big thank you to Sofiane Laghouati, Le Musée Royal de Mariemont, Christophe Pallier, Antoine Amarilli, Open Source Publishing, Constant.