This year‘s Special Code Poetry Spirit award goes to... Akihiro Kubota for his "Radom Rain" poem!
The poem stands out from every other poem of 2019 by its powerful triple artistic impact it makes on a code poetry reader: it is stubbornly true to a Japanese cultural tradition; it continues the very language brought to this world by the genius of Niikuni Seiichi; and it adds those new (modern) qualities to the poetry that the poets of the 20th century did not have or did not dare to use - namely the machine-and-human readable, self-executive form of expression that blends a purely human phenomenon (poem) with a purely electronic form (programming instructions).
It takes a while to grasp the full extent of Akihiro Kubota‘s work. First, a reader starts by learning Niikuni Seiichi and his legacy, and maybe should spend some time embracing his "Rain" from 1966. Then you are ready for Akihiro‘s source code version (written in esoteric stack-based language Befunge - go google it). The dots start to connect when you suddenly realize Akihiro‘s code poem also lives outside the human imagination – as the small raindrops start jumping all around the static avant-garde poem text... And immediately the rain, the legacy of Niikuni Seiichi, the code - whatever, your head just gets overwhelmed for a while.
This is exactly what the Source Code Poetry is all about. Step out from what you think you know. Blend technology and art in a way that nobody has tried before. Use your technological skills for crafting something so unique that will impact readers’ heads and leave them in awe.
This is the very spirit of the Source Code Poetry.
About the poet
Currently Akihiro Kubota teaches new media art at an art university in Tokyo. In the last 20 years he has been trying various approaches to intersect science and engineering with humanities.
“The Source Code Poetry challenge, writing poems in code is the best example of such an intersection. It can be positioned as an executable poetry following the movement of concrete poetry (as post-concrete poetry).
Seiichi Niikuni (1925 – 1977) was a Japanese poet who was one of the foremost pioneers of the avant-garde concrete poetry movement. That's why I decided to rewrite his most famous concrete poem in visual 2-dimensional esoteric programming language, Befunge.
What is the poetry that can be executed? I keep speculating about it", - says Special Code Poetry Spirit award winner Akihiro Kubota.