In 1920, André Breton and Philippe Soupault published Les champs magnétiques ("The magnetic fields"), a book generally acknowledged to be the first major work of literary surrealism. Breton and Soupault composed the text by means of automatic writing, a technique Soupault praised as "granting the spirit a liberty which we had known only in our dreams... freeing ourselves from all logical apparatus."¹ That same supra-rational, ego-negating poetic impulse currently finds expression in the use of computers to generate verse, a process that can also produce brilliant non-sense. Far from being arid and mechanical, the best poetry software embodies the personality of its author, imposing broadly consistent tone and form upon the output. The five lyrics that comprise The quantum fields were generated using McPoet 4.5 by Chris F. Westbury and The Surrealist Compliment Generator by Banjo Ruthless Creations, occasionally amended with non-automatic editorial interventions by the composer. The texts are narrated by Daniel, a posh British speaking voice built into the Mac's OS X operating system, who delivers his unhinged lines with imperious detachment.
¹ "Elles nous conduisirent a considerer la poesie comme une liberation, comme la possibilite (peut-etre la seule) d'accorder a l'esprit une liberte que nous n'avions connue que dans nos reves et de nous delivrer de tout appareil logique." Philippe Soupault, Profits perdus, 1963.
No. 1: Of flowers and assassins to travel or to leave only the heart knows the days of snake and tourist are gone and the gray earth saunters is it really foolish the disposable butterfly is the envy of every image the erect serpent is the envy of every father the surly sleazy dog vomits with reckless abandon and somewhat the eternal dog exists softly softly
No. 2: Resistant rabbits by all accounts resistant rabbits are domestic resistant rabbits down down down into the darkness of the resistant rabbits gently they go the native the nocturnal the incontinent pickled pigs however will always be slaughtered do pickled pigs make you shiver do they don't believe that mature males are little mature males are big beyond belief pickled pigs are just the thing to get me wondering if mature males are handsome one afternoon I said to myself why aren't British birds more fat-free British birds are greasy British birds are rotund British birds are incontinent diabetic dogs however will always be vicious never forget the malicious and malevolent diabetic dogs
No 3: I wonder where gravy comes from I hear chanting weeping the gnashing of teeth I want the whole pie I touch the mildewed dampness I worry that consciousness is eternal I cry rivulets of broth I understand nothing I say I shall not be sublimated into vapor but I am helpless to stop it I dream about multiple dimensions of being I try to tear the heart from my heaving chest I hope for searing heat and numbing chill I wonder where gravy comes from
No. 4: You wear your ears well, so charmingly heathen and true to the testament of loose fitting flesh your skin hangs like a teardrop on the tip of a knife seven donkeys and a concubine cannot compare with the tarnished sheen of your complexion your eyebrows are as verdantly forrested as the woodworms of my most sombre dreams the tiny sounds of ancient bees resound forth from the forrested coercions between your toes and the dimples of your breasts pucker evocatively when you smile the glow of your teeth exudes the courage of raw liver and your fingers staple pine nuts into everything you touch Your soul contains all that is found in insects pigs and vermin but your arms lengthen daily like the edges of a festering table
No. 5: The baseball-obsessed population requires things from an apocalypse the defense moves to scientific objectivity but a silvery entry drifts his courageous red-head is like obsessions luxurious contemporary damnation a fresh beagle warmly joyfully damnation more camouflages are similar to Edens are silver castrations father i's twenty-one percent sure that the terrible father likes the inevitable passing of time neither one moves the serpent wants things from his caffeine moves from his camaraderie takes from his altruism moves from his eye jumps from his attitude his chain runs to his funeral procession his definition teaches to a riot his religious hunt shows things to an earlobe may yogis run to their apartments a number of contaminants will be cryptic oblivions not enough people pine the wet champagnes some animal beetles expect gifts from the dying masses An outdated error flower of abdomen arbitrarily increasingly error those quick quivering questions and dainty dear denials understate and a contemptible carnival is like the bitter zoos some masculine cornucopias will be brutal ecstatic outcomes if Zeus had the ability to change algorithmic chaos I'd pray to the corrupt perfection the serpent limps to the way you have programmed yourself how is nothingness like social angst if the compassionate lamp lighter had the power to change your neuronal wiring I'd ask to crawl to cameras is a global conspiracy like the sleep must his biology throw something to the freedom-loving confession do you know why I fantasize about love because Love likes at least one eloquent apocalypse the nymph of poet their own extravagance strives to your bay must an early river march to at least one rotting plague my moldy odor sheds light upon a fascination a computer chip is like the TV audience it bawls vulnerably one less carnivorous fuzzy interest is an example of the evangelical interest it's sixty-five percent sure that everything is a crazy monk they both mock each hand is like them it extends from your hidden creativity your causations offer a path to understanding an authorization if belief had the power to change them I'd ask that ethical candlelights discover a traitorous parent will become your glorious mind if a well educated doctor had the power to change a mindless bureaucrat I'd ask for guitars to take things to many fewer crazy novelties many more pelvises are living for innumerable philosophies it dreams disgustingly the serpent quarrels realistically the avenger is like a novelty it suffers from time the serpent feels for the deference your own furry variation offends palm a bittersweet baggage obituary of dance so-called objective reality expects things from comely the current political environment their variable vast vampire voluntarily the thrilling oneness postpones the red hiss is like desire it finds pathways to a scientific objectivity fallen mistress and tar of banana I lipsynch to your men romantic canonize your cave oddity of epidermis are astrologers not too imaginary to underestimate easily a familiar foot perhaps that none but we are not enough of us I am yours for the asking there is an unveil dogmatic here if a biochemistry had the ability to change the dying masses I'd request a biochemistry to become increasingly clairvoyant some organs will be angry opulent flows must the intrinsic preference stagger to a dainty predisposition runs to this coffin the Illumati is similar to an expertise of your dream any obsessions are like your onrushs they clamp an aversion takes things to a poor elf must the carefree poor quivering controversial contentments yearn enthusiasms gather in fictitious young woman crowds smoking era and burning altruism to keep drunk the serpent knows abnormally he has any bitter captivities were intended for a lot of insects calm unrealistic unicorn's universe no hawk joyfully joyfully one less comfortable aberration adultery of waste makes pathways to a kind of atlas a fiery artist will play the role of Kali The destroyer if the beetle had the power to change Cher I'd pray for greed to become more dangerous