wine flying   'Ti Cui Yiren shanting' by Qian Qi (710?-780?), reconfigured for 2021/22 by John from the translation, adaptation and animation originally published as a HyperCard stack and an artist’s book in 1989. Calligraphy by Joseph S.P. Lo. One loop through the scored permutations is about 4 mins.


This year I was suddenly able to make a contemporary recreation of what I think of as my first ‘finished’ animated poetic text for personal computer screens. I published wine flying as a HyperCard stack in 1989 – programmed in HyperTalk for early Macintosh computers – and also as an artist's book (London: Wellsweep Press). At the time, I anticipated the development of software that would allow poets to ‘score the spelt air,’ literalizing, for the screen’s visuality, certain implicit temporalities of the poetic open field. There is still no software, of which I am aware, which responds appropriately to these potentialities. And it was not until the last year or two that I encountered a programming platform that has anything like the expressive ease of HyperTalk for non-specialist makers who want to do something other than code for commerce or transaction. So, now again, I’m working to score the spelt air.

These animations are driven directly from a live-coded notebook, and I am finding its platform, Observable, to be, with respect to the ‘full web stack’, every bit as expressive as HyperTalk in HyperCard. I hope other interested writers will explore.

The timings for these animations are, thanks to Reduct.Video, aligned with actual readings by myself. Although silent, the rhythms of this animated typography are thus a function of my translations’ and adaptions’ evocalization in aurality.

For those interested in the original wine flying and related early pieces, the Internet Archive made it possible to upload and catalog HyperCard stacks, and in a framework that allows them to be experienced in their contemporary form, emulated in a web browser. wine flying is available here, along with a number of my other early HyperCard works.