Double Original Friday – Dada Resume

Monoprint of layered patterns and the silhouette of a woman, black ink on newsprint

Lab lights

in sciences
in vivo, present
University into University

writing for-  of-  and-
and have I meant it too

I is day,
am of am
issues the other
kind of variety

shareholders, all

effort, curriculum, height
of the present

Developing quantitative
sciences of my Artwork



I put my CV and a few job ads into the Dada Poetry Generator (check it out
here if you need some Dada poetry in your life!). With only a little bit of clean up, this was the result. I find it encapsulates my experience of being a scientist on the job market very well. The monoprint is also the result of a little random chance too. I was using this sheet of newsprint, an initially rejected print, to protect the table while I worked with the printing ink. It became a layered work of art in its own right. It seemed to me to be a pair. Poem and monoprint (ink on newsprint) by me. Have a good weekend! (Sneaked this one in under the Friday line, at least on the west coast!)

Automatic Poetry – the Dada way

I had a rather long drive to make this last weekend (well, long by Boston standards, only moderate by Southern California standards – I have found the relative scales differ quite a bit) – and I wound up tuning into an NPR show discussing the history, definition, and variations of nihilism. The whole show was interesting, but what caught my attention was a description of a type of poetry advocated by the Dadaist Tristan Tzara – basically, he said that he could create a poem on the spot by cutting up a newspaper article and pulling words from it from a hat at random.  The Cut-up technique or Tzara Combinations have been with us ever since – and is one of many aleatory (introducing chance or randomness into the creative process) techniques. I was amazed to find a whole list of surrealist techniques, often aleatory, used to inspire creativity here! I am now seriously tempted to try some of these for illustrating-poetry-purposes (although my apartment is not equipped for some of them – see “bulletism,” for example).

But the Tzara Combinations was one I could comfortably try at home…


My “victim” article was a page from an old art book on El Greco (I figured you have to start with good material) – don’t worry – no art books were harmed in the making of these cut-up poems. The sheet came from a library sale where they sold off tattered and broken art books by the sheet to benefit the library. I asked for three random numbers from Matlab (to be precise, three pseudorandom integers from a uniform discrete distribution from 30 to 100) – and got 40, 59, and 95. These were how many words I was going to draw from the bag to make the poems. Without further ado, in increasing word-count order:

40wordcut_up 59wordcut_up 95wordcut_up


They are definitely random word assemblages – but there are a few gems in there I think I am going to try to work with – “National standards country” and “undoubtedly awkward Inquisition” are pretty priceless…It also sent me to the internet to look up who Laocoon and Charles Ricketts were and discovered that the Tzara combinations didn’t do a bad job of describing them!