December 22, 2011

[boxed]: A Rubik's Cube Poem

In the same vein as [squared]: a Dice Poem, I have created a manually-generative poem using the squares on a Rubik's Cube.

There are many combinations.

They have inexpensive "puzzle blocks" at some larger craft stores, and the words were printed on label paper, so there is no reason you can't give this project a go. Create your own non-digital generative poetry as a piece of Moment Art, with a little extra elbow grease!

Shown below are pictures of the faces of my cube before they were realigned. After changing the order, the poem opens up completely different worlds of insight into the characters of the piece, sides of them that I could not possibly consider on my own. With just a little effort, you can make a poem that almost creates itself.

There are a good number of people that pursue studies on computer-generated poetry, and understand a lot more about it than I do. I hope, that if nothing else, I am able to bring a largely esoteric field of study to those without the programming capabilities.

Total cost? A couple bucks and some time well spent. Consider this a Weekly Moment Art piece if you will, but please consider giving this type of poetry a try.

And for those interested, here's what the python program looks like, though you may download it here:

# [boxed]
# Sonny Rae Tempest

from random import choice
from time import sleep

square1=['It was her first time.','She wore her best dress.','What if it never happened.','What if it happened again.',"She didn't want to, though.",'She always thought she might.']
square2=['There was a plane overhead;','There was a bonfire;','There was a dead bird;','There was never time;','There was a tree;','There was always space;']
square3=['the news confused her.','the grass tickled her.','the coffee warmed her.','the truth astounded her.','shadows blanketed her.','the dog nuzzled her.']
square4=['In the right night, she was','In their eyes, she looked',"In the wrong state of mind, she'd feel",'In October, she looked so','In her own eyes, she felt','In the right light, she looked']
square5=['easy.','easy to talk to.','twitchy.','comfortable.','amazing.','insecure.']
square6=['She never liked her','She stretched her','She tapped her','She rubbed her','She pinched her','She stroked her']
square7=['legs. There was a time when he',"feet. That's the only reason he",'eyes. The truth is that he always','shoulders. She only assumed that he',"kneecaps. Maybe that's why he",'cheeks. What if he never']
square8=['amazed her','touched her','wanted her','despised her','loved her','hit her']
square9=['so poignantly.','; so what?','so delicately.','so forcefully.','so much.','so hard.']

while True:
print ('\n'+choice(square1)+' '+choice(square2)+' '+choice(square3)+' '+choice(square4)+' '+choice(square5)+' '+choice(square6)+' '+choice(square7)+' '+choice(square8)+' '+choice(square9))

Also, check out Gunning With Scissors in Kill Screen Magazine.


November 23, 2011

The F Word: The Semiological Experiment that Apple Rejected

Apple rejected my latest experimental app, The F Word, for its profuse use of profanity. This app takes a block of text, either typed or pasted, and replaces every instance of the word "the" with "the fucking". So it can take any innocuous text and turn it into something that sounds a lot, well, angry. Apple didn't want it.

Fair enough.

I didn't expect that they would. So now I can present to you a free web app: The F Word. (Or copy/paste As far as I know, it only works on iPhones. Just navigate to the app, save the address to your phone's home screen, and it'll act just like any ol' other app would.

Here is the lowdown, from the app's About page:

More than merely a semiological experiment, the intention of The F Word is to use a simple, and by itself meaningless, word to alter the tone of almost any text to one with more passion, levity, or angst, depending upon which metaphor you personally attribute to the F word.

By effifying a block of text, fairy tales are more frightening; legal documents are less intimidating; Lacan loses his staunchness and Heidegger isn't so high-brow.

Whichever text you're struggling through, The F Word will, at least, make it a more tolerable read. Type in text or paste entire papers' worth of text. The hope is that the F word will become a little more Fun, and a little less Feared, or a signifier.

Or, just use it for a laugh; that's cool too.


After you've effified the text, click the "Effified Text" tab on the home screen to see your text. Ensure there is at least one instance of "the" in the text, or nothing will change.

Hope you all enjoy!


November 17, 2011

The Word: Holy Bible Choose Your Own Deity Version

My first app.

I'm so excited, and very pleased with the turnaround time by Apple (less than a week, wow!).

First in a planned series of semiologically-experimental iPhone apps, The Word is designed to alter signs in the Holy Bible KJV by replacing the words God and Jesus with whomever you choose.

From the app's About page:

Now you, too, can replace the word "God" with whomever in this Holy Bible edition.

The Word is more than simply a semiological experiment.

Growing up, I attended Catholic mass every week, each time growing more and more detached from, and belligerent toward, a belief which I didn't hold.

After Confirmation, I never attended mass again, and have since carried a hostile image wherever the words "God" and "Jesus" appear.

I've since read the Bible, but to this day, those words leave a bad taste in my mouth, even though the concept itself is delicious.

So, I created The Word in order to replace a word, nothing more than an iconic metaphor, to one with which I am more comfortable.

And so can you.

Replace the words "God" and "Jesus" with names, concepts, or other gods which most strongly resonate with you.

Less able to believe in Creation theory? Try replacing "God" with "the universe". Already sold on another faith but appreciate the Bible's message? Use "Krishna", "Hera", "Ayn Rand".

Luke17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or lo there! for, behold, the kindgom of God is within you." Try using your own name for "Jesus"; discover your godliness, and perhaps some latent narcissism.

When you are ready, return to the home screen, click "Deities", enter your gods, then click "Re-Deify". Your Bible-reading experience should now be a little more personal and meaningful.

Anything beyond that is semantic.

It has an official release date of November 18th, so look for it in the Entertainment section, else find it right here: The Word


November 15, 2011


The good people at Babycastles have graciously posted the video of 'INNOVATIVE LEISURE: NEW ATARI GAMES', curated by Ian Bogost. I had a wonderful time appearing via Skype, and felt very empowered by the size of the projector screen. My thanks to all involved for the warm reception, and my sincerest apologies for those who tried to play the game poem sans directions!


November 1, 2011

My 8-bit Daughter

I found a few free moments today, found myself playing with my future phone and an app called PicoEDITOR. Now I know that future phones are notorious for enabling considerable media consumption, but now and then you can find some incredibly efficient tools for creative production. So, with the above-mentioned app, I spent a minute or two creating an 8x8 pixel sprite of my soon-to-be year-old daughter Aria:

Then, I subsequently created a stereoscopic 8x8 drawing:

I know that some of you don't have fancy future phones, but luckily, this type of art is entirely transferable across media. Color some graph paper, or collage some colored paper. To prove the fungibility of this creative exercise, I have cross-stitched my daughter's sprite:

floss on 22-count canvas

Having taken just a few minutes, this constrained form of graphic art is perfect for a daily Moment.


October 21, 2011

Press and Exhibits for Atari Game Poem

I know it's been a while since I've updated everybody regarding my Atari game poetry project, and in light of recent events surrounding this project, I thought that now would be a great time to do so.

First, I wanted to mention that my second Atari game poem, Calm, Mute, Moving, was featured in an article on page 4 of the October 2011 issue of Game Developer Magazine.


Secondly regarding "CMM," I received a much appreciated "Wow" by Ian Bogost on the forums, and was subsequently contacted by Mr. Bogost requesting that I include Calm, Mute, Moving in an Atari Art Game exhibition that he is curating at Babycastles on November 13. Ian Bogost is Director of the Graduate Program in Digital Media at Georgia Tech, and is also a game designer (Persuasive Games), author (How to Do Things with Video Games, Racing the Beam), and Atari "game poet" himself (A Slow Year). Babycastles is an independent video games arcade in New York City.

Super suweeet.

Lastly, regarding the project as a whole: I have only sound programming left to do on the third installment of the Atari game poem triptych Monday. Still untitled, the third poem will be premiered, along with the other two pieces, at the Louisville Arcade Expo, March 2-4, 2012 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky. Going back upon my original Moment Art concept Monday, this third Atari poem features... well I guess you're going to have to attend the expo to find out! (similey*)! Word is, you'll have a chance to win my entire Monday exhibit in a select game tournament, complete with the game poem cartriges, an Atari, a TV, and all necessary controllers and documentation.

How suweeet is that?

Touched by the positive response that this project has received, it occurs to me that I may not be the only one who appreciates this form of expression, and since there may actually be others besides me reading this blog, I guess I'll post a little teaser shot, from the early stages of development, of the final untitled game poem for the Atari:

Untitled Atari game poem screenshot

Post-Lastly, there are some creative ventures coming your way for those who are enjoying the Daily Moment Art process, so stay tuned for some how-tos!


* similey - it's like an emoticon, only a little more textual in context.

October 13, 2011

[squared]: A Dice Poem

[squared] is not an attempt to reincarnate a chick-v-egg debate. Rather, it is an analog[ue?] vision of a computer generated poem.

More specifically, the 6 faces of each of 3 die display 1 of 18 pieces of prose, and are a tangible means of randomly generating one of my previously untitled generative projects. Should we encounter an EMP, blackout, or summertime power outage, these poetry dice will accommodate unlimited rolling while your CPU remains DOA, thus providing, to the user, endless enjoyment [or what we call in the business "poetic appeasement"].

[We don't really call it that.][I made that up.][Sorry.].

Poetry dice require no coding experience, so this is something that can be done by anyone [and I hope you do!]. Nevertheless, for those interested, here is the .python code for [squared]:

# [squared]
# Sonny Rae Tempest

from random import choice
from time import sleep

dice1=['The middle-aged woman closed the curtains. She then,','The old woman picked up the glass. She then,','The young woman dashed down the stairs. She then,','The old man closed the book. He then,','The middle-aged man put down the shovel. He then,','The young man washed his hands. He then']
dice2=['laughing,','winking,','blushing,','without a word,','sobbing,','shaking,']
dice3=['took the diamond from the middle-aged woman.',"petted the young woman's sandy hair.",'gave the worn pages to the old woman.','tossed the young man the glove.','handed the middle-aged man a folded check.','embraced the old man.']

while True:
print ('\n'+choice(dice1)+' '+choice(dice2)+' '+choice(dice3))


September 14, 2011

"Still Worn": A Crayon Poem

8-line crayon poetry using the medium as the canvas.

     Still Worn

     still as restless
     still as bound
     still the son, Father
     still the holy specter
     still with obedience
     still with weight to warrant
     still silent
     still colored


August 27, 2011


"Mama, can I cut myself a slice of bread?" says my stepdaughter Sharlotte, trying to get a snack before dinner.

I chuckled, because my brain placed inappropriate line breaks in her sentence, which in my head immediately portrayed her as a neo-emo-L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poet.

She got her bread, and I got to checking out Nick Montfort's incredibly creative website about how to best turn this benign sentence into something a little more provoking.

I knew enough Python and Javascript to lift some ideas from Mr. Montfort's The Two, and was able to create some generative poetry based on Sharlotte's sentence.

Essentially, I was able to create 3-line-stanza slices, which in turn are formed by slices of Sharlotte's original sentence. Sure, there are only 3*3*3 possibilities here, and don't necessarily necessitate a computer script to find them all, but I enjoy watching the computer display these different slices at random, each with their own meaning depending upon how the sentence is sliced.

So, I am able to offer you a computer-generated poem called "Slices" in two forms: Python for those who know, and Javascript for those who wish to view it in their browser (Since I cannot afford proper web hosting, you'll have to download the .html page before you can view it. Sorry.).

Here is the Python code for those just wanting to view it, get an idea of its structure, or if you are like me, find it easiest to just copy and paste it:

# Slices
# Sonny Rae Tempest & Sharlotte Higgs

from random import choice
from time import sleep

slices=['Mama','can I cut myself','a slice of bread']

while True:
print ('\n'+choice(slices)+'\n'+choice(slices)+'\n'+choice(slices))


July 12, 2011

Interactive Interview about "Calm, Mute, Moving".

I have finally finished my write-up about my second Atari 2600 game poem entitled "Calm, Mute, Moving.".

It is not, however, a typical write-up like one would expect. It is not a scholarly paper, nor is it a standard postmortem. It is an Interactive Interview created with Inform7.

What is an Interactive Interview? Well, in the early days of computer adventures, there were works of Interactive Fiction like "Zork." They are the graphic-less types of games where you type things such as "go north," "take gold," or "kill troll" in order to interact with the game. You know: the classics. These days, similar works are still being produced by a small number of writers. I had decided, upon avoiding, for a month, any sort of "serious" written composition, to create an Interactive Interview in the same vein as these text adventures.

The interview itself is titled "'Calm, Mute, Moving' interview with Sonny Rae Tempest," and is presented here as a .z5 file. You will need an interpreter to run this file, but one can be downloaded for free to your computer. Frotz is a great interpreter for Windows, and there's even a Frotz iphone app. Zoom is a good one for Mac OS.

It is my hope that you experience the interview for yourself, especially if you never had the luxury to play these games, or works of Interactive Fiction, in the heyday of computer gaming.

To download the .z5 file, click HERE, or find it in the Sonny's Work link above.

Thank you all for checking it out. I hope you enjoy!


*** EDIT ***

Thanks to the good people at the Interactive Fiction Database, you can now play the "Calm, Mute, Moving" interview with Sonny Rae Tempest on your web browser! Click HERE to do so.


July 10, 2011

Draw a Horse

Seriously. Without pretensions, draw a horse. On the walk to your car. In under a minute. On anything: business card, napkin, fallen leaf. With anything: pen, charcoal, syrup. It doesn't have to look good. In fact, it doesn't have too look like a horse at all. Give it horns, sneakers, a bullet-proof vest. Give it wings, intelligence, handlebars or a handlebar mustache. Fence him in, or set her free; existence only cares that it exists. It doesn't have to be a good horse; it could be evil. It could be indifferent. Seriously. Without pretensions, draw a horse. On the walk to your car. In under a minute. On anything. With anything. When you're done, keep it, post it, or crumple it up and throw it away. It doesn't have to be good; it just has to be, if only for a moment.

Now of course, here's my Moment:

1"x1" Ink pens on discarded cigarette filter paper.


June 21, 2011

Calm, Mute, Moving. A second game poem for the Atari VCS

Calm, Mute, Moving.
Hey all,

I've finished the game poem for the Atari 2600, second of a triptych, "Calm, Mute, Moving." All the files you will need for this are found in My Works.

My favorite part is the addition of the breath-controlled cigarette controller. You will find the directions on how to build that controller with the game files (it's simpler to build than you might think).

I am hoping to write up a post-mortum or something similar soon, when I have the time available to devote to it, but for right now, I was too excited to leave this game poem unpublished, so all of you that are wanting to experience it, please do, and don't be afraid to let me know what you think!

Happy summer solstice,


June 19, 2011

Breath-Controlled Cigarette Controller for Atari 2600

Hey all,

After finishing the code for my second Atari 2600 game poem, I began building the required breath-controlled cigarette controller. The prototype was successful, and you can view a very brief demo here: 

When all is ready, I will release the game as well as the directions for building this controller.  I am excited to get this project wrapped up!


June 15, 2011

Creativity in Perspective

60 Black Boards
Oil on wood, 1"x2"x8' & 4'

Commissioned by the owner of A.G. Exhibitions for $120, each unique board represents a piece of the new framework of American business culture, with a straight and colorless practice that excludes creativity within productivity. Holes are drilled in each piece at precise intervals to represent the holes inherent in their design, and a new way in which we can screw these business practices with our expressive freedom. These pieces will be on tour in the Kentuckiana region this summer, with a stop at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville.

June 9, 2011

The Future of Moments

What does your future hold for you?

Rapturous doom, the end of the world? Fortune beyond prosperity? Complacency? Objective reality? Anarchy? Malarkey? These are things I cannot tell you.

What I can say is that based on current trends, the way in which we communicate is shifting rapidly toward a paradigm with an unimaginably high level of efficiency. "How so?" you ask. Here's my take on it, which goes way beyond acronymed chat-abbreviates such as LOL, ROTFL, and others that make this Gen-Xer ponder "Whisky Tango Foxtrot."

I'm thinking of a form so condensed as to kiss the alpha(and numeric)bet goodbye forever. I'm thinking about this:

QR barcode

Take a look at any package you've received in the mail lately, and you're likely to have seen one of these. This unobtrusive but certainly complex barcode can represent potentially thousands of alphanumeric characters in the space of a square inch. Can you read it? I can't. Can the robots read it? Probably. And this will be humankind's ultimate doom.

I'm kidding, of course.


The real point is, printed messages are being transmitted right before our eyes, and we are missing out on so much potential information that, through no fault of our own (we don't learn barcode-ese in grade school), we run the risk of being left behind.

Okay, you're right; I'm being ridiculous. Regardless, I believe the barcode to be an incredibly interesting constrained medium in which to work, and that is what we will do for this round of Moment art.

If you have a fancy future-phone, you can download an app to read these barcodes, and for generation online (for free) I found an excellent one here: ZXing QR Code Generator, just choose the text option.

Depending on the size of the barcode, you are limited in alphanumeric character count, but as far as imaginative and creative play are concerned, there are effectively no limits to what you can create with these barcode Moments. The QR barcode (pictured above) is often used for website or personal information marketing, but that certainly isn't fun at all. Instead, create a poem, a short story, a rant, applaud, a recipe, or a journal entry.

Given enough time, you could write a book like Trisha Barnes, or create incredible art like Scott Blake, but for now, we will stick to our short and simple Moment art practice since for most of us, a single moment in the day is all we can afford.

When you're done, print your barcode on sticky label paper, and stick these Moments randomly on desks, telephone poles, bus stops (please check with local posting laws; I am not condoning breaking the law!) so that those in the know, those with the fancy future-phones, can scan this barcode and experience your Moment as you have lived it. Then, of course, get back to your daily grind, because if you don't, then the robots will sure take over. Fortunately for us, we'll be able to read it coming.

Now to be fair, that barcode displayed above is my Moment.


May 26, 2011


An important step toward becoming a successful poet is the mastery of the art of the neologism. A neologism is a "new word," or a new meaning for an existing word or phrase. Language itself is a dynamic process, and we must do our part to help create a direction toward which natural communication flows. This is, of course, what we will be practicing this time with our daily Moments.

To be sure, however, we will put a little constraint on our new expressions. And since this is Kentucky, we will do our part to add to what is affectionately known as the Redneck Dictionary.

If you are not familiar with the Redneck Dictionary, you may be wise to watch a few performances by comedic legend Jeff Foxworthy. The object is simple: reinvent the definition of a word by listening to how it sounds in a sentence with your best southern drawl. For example:

HEAVY DEW - phrase. A request for action.
Usage: "Kin I heavy dew me a favor?"

ALL - noun. A petroleum-based lubricant.
Usage: "I sure hope my brother from Jawjuh puts all in my pickup truck."

(Both of these terms lifted from

Sure, you may think this is goofy. It is; that's the point. It's both creative and fun, which is perfect for Moment art.

Of course, too, this could fit into a style of constrained poetry. It could also be viewed as a sort of riddle, a confusion of the signifier and signified. Or heck, call it a monostiche if you're particularly fond of literary terms.

Either way, we're having fun. You may find that it isn't so easy to create one that is clever, humourous, and relevant.

Now to be fair, here's mine:

Mausoleum: (verb) To remove something would serve no purpose.
Usage - "Mausoleum there; they dead."

Until next time, happy neologinatin'!


May 25, 2011

A Moment in the Park

     Saturday, June 11     9:00am - 12:00pm

     Big Rock in Cherokee Park
     Park Boundary Rd
     Louisville, KY

An opportunity to compose creative Moments while walking through beautiful Cherokee Park!

I will be working on a project involving art, poetry, and minimal interactivity with Google Maps. I would like to invite everyone on this day, at this time, and weather permitting, to meet me at Big Rock in Cherokee Park (Louisville, KY) to come create Moments along with me in the early morning. A small workshop will be held before we begin for those that are not familiar with daily Moment art.

We will be creating small 5-minute Moments of art/poetry/photography/whatever at certain stops along the Scenic Loop around Cherokee Park, and utilizing the tour guide feature on Google Maps, we will create a different kind of tour around the park, a less actual, but more imaginative, tour to enhance the experience of travelers around the park. These tours will be available via my website,

You may choose to participate in the tour project, or you may come out and create Moments for your own benefit. Either way, I hope some of you can come out and take a leisurely stroll around the park, 2-3 hours, as we spend a morning creating works of art that have no other purpose than to be.

I will have some paper and pens/pencils, but if you would like to work in a different medium then please bring these items with you.

When we are finished, you may bring your Moments home to polish them up, then email them back to me to place in the tour. Else, you may decide that you've said what you've needed to say and I can take them that day. Or, you may decide that you'd like to keep your Moments to yourself, and that is perfectly fine too. Remember, however, the purpose of the daily Moment art is to create something out of one unrefined moment and give it freely and unashamedly to the world.

I will be happy to entertain any questions. For those of you unfamiliar with daily Moment art, please see my website at

I hope to see many of you there. The more people that participate in this Google Maps tour project, the more successful I believe this interactive journey can be for the audience.

Until then!


May 18, 2011

Another Atari VCS Game Poem

Hello artists!

I just wanted to pop in to mention that I've begun another game poem for the Atari 2600. Following up on where Indentures at an Exhibition left off, and second of a triptych, the game will focus on the experience of driving through afternoon rush hour traffic.

I am hoping to make this the most maddening Atari experience that I can.

Without yet getting into the rhetoric, I will only briefly note that this game poem will feature an original homemade Atari cigarette controller, which will be controlled by breath, in addition to the normal joystick controller. As soon as the game poem is finished, the plans for the controller will be released freely as well as the game poem itself. Don't worry, very minimal electronic experience will be required, i.e. soldering.

For now, I can offer you a screenshot of where the game poem is now in development:

I'm very excited about this project overall, and cannot wait to let you all experience it when finished.

Until then, I hope you all are successful in continuing your daily Moment art routine! I will have another creative Moment generation idea ready for you all here soon.


May 8, 2011

Minutes to Make a Movie

I came across this website earlier this year, Xtranormal, and found it to be an incredibly fun way to express one's creativity. The purpose of this site is to allow you to make animated shorts quickly and easily, and with no programming experience. All you have to do is type out some dialogue, and the computer-animated actors perform your dialogue/monologue for you. The website is free to use and free to generate high-quality animated short films.

Naturally, I had to give this a try.

In a little under an hour, I was able to make a decent little short film. Taking some poetry I had written for one of my daily Moments, I inputed all the text, added a few camera changes and gestures (the site explains how to do this, and is as easy as placing a camera icon within your text), and voila, I had a cute little animated spoken-word short:

This Moment took very little time to accomplish, and I had felt quite tickled at having a computer-generated reader for my poetry. Sure, it was nice to feed my ego, but the best part is when you are finished with your project, it will be saved on the website for all the world to see. Remember, letting go of your Moment and allowing the world to enjoy it is an important part of the daily Moment art routine.

So, for this week, I invite you to compose some poetry, prose, any sort of word-based art, and use this free website to bring your Moment to life in a vividly digital manner. Have fun with it. And please, if you create one, no matter how happy you are with it, post the link in our daily Moment art forum; we would all love to see them!

Here are a couple more I created, just for fun:


April 21, 2011

Atari VCS Game Poem: Indentures at an Exhibition

Sonny Rae Tempest speaks about his new Atari VCS game poem, Indentures at an Exhibition, interviewed by ELIZA.
> Hello. My name is Eliza. How may I help you?
I would like to tell you about my new game poem.
> Oh...  about your new game poem? 
Yes. "Indentures at an Exhibition" is a game poem, for lack of a better word, which uses the Atari VCS (Video Computer System, aka the Atari 2600) platform as a medium to procedurally express my experience as a laborer in the exhibition industry. The program itself is just shy of 4k of ROM, and written in machine language.
Indentures at an Exhibition, Sonny Rae Tempest
> Are you Sure? 
Positive. It really was an exciting effort. I had programmed very little in the past, mostly in BASIC on the C64 when I was a kid, and have really progressed no further than FORTRAN and C++ classes I took as an undergrad. I designed a game called "The Adventures of the Overgrown Oatmeal" on the SGDK2 (Scrolling Game Development Kit), which was really an attempt to tell the narrative of a comic book that I had drawn back in the 6th grade, and which required little actual coding. So getting to learn an entirely new language from book-1 was an exciting prospect for me.
>Come, come, elucidate your thoughts.
Well, the idea began back last summer when i had made a couple of despondent lo-res images, as part of my daily Moment art practice, depicting visual elements of older computer systems. A few other inspirations later, and I Google'd “atari poetry,” showing the results: Yucef Merhi's Super Atari Poetry, and the then forthcoming A Slow Year by Ian Bogost. It looked like an arena that was calling for performers. So, after reading a few books on machine language, the 6502 processor, and the Stella chip (and spending way too many hours at the forums), I designed Indentures at an Exhibition mostly for programming practice. It is based around my experience with some of the more mundane work at a current employer.
>What is it that you really want to know?
The intention was to see if I had the ability to program an Atari game poem that could procedurally express my feelings about my workplace. This includes my feelings about the inanity of labor, the people with whom we work, their respective work ethic, the coping methods we utilize to deal with our workplace environment, and the choices that we make that keep us coming back for more. However, while I believe I was successful in this aspect, there are a couple of goals I had that I wasn't able to attain.
> Can  you elaborate on that?
Certainly. First, there is an issue of relevance that I failed to meet. That is, because the game, its code, its language, its rules can all be translated across most other computing languages, and therefore remain rhetorically relevant on any platform, this makes the Atari VCS itself irrelevant to the poetry. Second, because I felt it was necessary to create a handbook, or instruction manual, to introduce the player to the narrative, I did not succeed in making this a purely stand-alone game poem. However, as far as the rule-based expression goes, I believe I did a fairly bang-up job on the programming.
> I'm not sure I understand you fully.
I was trying to establish a setting of purely mindless labour. Tearing down drape, rod by rod, and placing it on the tree, would be nowhere near as exciting as it truly is in real time. So, the game awards you $10 per real-time hour. Also, giving the player the freedom to quit, work diligently (or not), or spend all their money on drugs just to pass the time quicker gives the player a larger degree of freedom of choices that actually occur on a continual basis. These choices must all be considered to the player, such as: “I hate this job, I'm quitting. Wait, I have to feed my kids. I can't do this! Here, smoke this, it won't seem so bad. But I need to buy diapers.” I believe, that through these and other rules programmed into the game poem, I was successful in expressing myself effectively.
> Have you tried?
Hmm? Oh. Well, I had a pre-release party at this job, and let the people who inspired the characters play the game. I asked them how it felt to play alongside themselves, as someone else. Donn said: “Why do I have to pick up the drape? My ringtone really gets annoying*”. Blake said: “I just wanna buy some weed from me.” Also in attendance was Tim Flaherty of Hot Action Cop. Andy could not be there.
Blake vs. Blake

Donn vs. Donn
> What is it that you really want to know?
Well, most importantly, I'd like to know if this platform, this medium, can be effective for expression and can I be successful in making it become so? The Atari VCS is notoriously difficult to program, and the language it uses and its minuscule memory requirements place it in the realm of highly constrained poetry, which I love; it keeps me focused. I'm remaining optimistic.
> Do you want to be able to be successful in making it become so?
Yes, I do.
> Are you sure?
Thank you, Eliza.**
*Donn's ringtone is, in fact, that very melody from the Halloween soundtrack.
**It was around this time that the interviewer became a little more intrusive and a little more lewd.

To download Indentures at an Exhibition and all its related items, go to my Works page.


April 12, 2011

Game Poem for the Atari 2600, Coming Soon.

"Indentures at an Exhibition"

A game poem I created this past winter for the Atari 2600 game system, written in machine language, it addresses the experience of contract labor. Here is a little teaser screenshot before it is released. It will be available soon; I have a pre-release viewing to schedule and an exhibit to put on, and as soon as I can get the manual tightened and a post-mortem written up, I'll post all the details, relevant info, and the poem itself.

Indentures at an Exhibition
Sonny Rae Tempest

Can't wait for you all to see it!


April 11, 2011

New Project, New Scene

Hey everyone,

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted. I've been working on a rather substantial project (which I'll shed some light on here soon), and had a baby on Thanksgiving morning. So, I've been busy, and tired. Mostly tired.


I will resume the Moment Art blog shortly. It will be a little different than it has previously been, but seasons change and so do we.

Anyway, keep watching for exciting news, I hope to get creative with you all again here soon!