Socially Mediating Digital Humanities or Ephemeral Homework.

Ahh! I just had the digital equivalent of the dog ate my homework: my computer crashed before I saved my homework. My computer crashing is rare, but I had a huge load on it – 2 peripheral screens, active Zoom, a few open PDFs of digitized oral histories from the 80s, which means they were scanned images. I also keep so so many tabs open. It’s like I want to keep all of my information right there, easy to access.

It’s my fault. I had that assignment open and unsaved as a Word doc for days. Over a week even. I had two other documents unsaved, but they were recovered. I figure the hugeness of it, with the images I had pasted in from the text to image generator made it irretrievable.

But I can recreate or perhaps reimagine what I did, and I certainly remember my reactions.

In the colorfully tree
these serenely sky
A suprisedly link

Wait… an adjective, not an adverb. What am I thinking? Who is Basho?

I realized pretty quickly that this generator only puts “In the,” “these,” and “A” in front of the words I type in. That doesn’t work very well at all, because the syllable count can be wrong. To create a haiku, I still have to count the syllables but, have less control over word choice. This generator is more constrictive than real haiku rules, because with writing my own haiku, I can choose all the words, their order, and am not “forced” to use only adjectives and nouns.

I generated several haikus from a post I made in 2016, lamenting the election choices. I remembered Clinton had been involved in securities fraud, and then Bengazi, so I felt like she was a bad choice. And certainly, Trump was a bad choice. So, I couldn’t vote for either of them.

The only thing that exists from those haikus is the sketch my daughter made in reaction to those haikus. It remains, because it was not born digital.

I found the image generator fascinating. It changed with nearly every keystroke I made. It seems like it took a picture, or two or three, and cut it up and rearranged them together to create a different image. There is an algorithm involved, but there is a seed of randomness because even if one erases and then types back exactly the same words, a different image appears.

This was a very interesting exploration of the intersection between language, the digital, and the material.

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