POWER ON is written from the perspective of our automated futures, the machines that have been coded with our present imperatives and ethics. If our colonialist interaction with the natural world and each other is presently characterized by racist and capitalist homogenization and amnesia, and if we think of technology as more than tools but as our representatives, then technological entities that carry out our work are the turning on of our ongoing script, never meant to end until forced to by powering off - through an impossibility of continuance, however that will come about.
The POWER ON app explores the ethical implications of technoscience programming by also allowing readers/users to collaborate with the manuscript by uploading their own individualized perspectives into the manuscript, creating a collaboration between machine and reader. With this collaboration, Ko seeks to provoke more than just a fun form of interactivity with poetry. Along with promoting accessibility features in poetry publication, the app seeks to highlight alongside the project the poet's belief "in readerly agency" and "the fact that each reader/user brings their own highly contextual perspective to a book of poetry; readerly immersion in a text is counterbalanced by a reader's identity." What does it mean to make work that does not desire for readers/users to conform themselves to the identity of the text? If what makes reading poetry and writing so gratifying and dialogic, are our capacities for empathy and bearing witness, what can the space of an interactive poetry app offer, when that witness is invited in to co-create?
The POWER ON app is intended to disentangle poetry from its common perception as being bound by either the materiality of paper pages or by direct transcription onto digital pages. User-contributed components will create a unique collaboration between my text and individuals who encounter it in the app, highlighting the aesthetic possibilities of poetry in digital form. Rather than transferring poetic traditions to new media in the form of the digital display of a page or book, the app investigates how poetic traditions can be transformed by the further possibilities of audience contributions in the form of image, sound, and video. The POWER ON app hopes to make evident that creating poetry with new media is both easy and incredibly customizable, as well as capable of accessible design that is attentive to inclusive design needs.
About the Author
Ginger Ko is an Assistant Professor at Sam Houston State University's MFA program in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing. She is the author of Motherlover (Bloof Books) and Inherit (Sidebrow), as well as several chapbooks. Her poetry and essays can be found in The Atlantic, American Poetry Review, The Offing, VIDA Review, and elsewhere. You can find her online at www.gingerko.com