The Library is a House of Trust.
To honor Free Libraries, we present a generative poem based on
Alison Knowles and James Tenney’s A House of Dust, 1967
Alison Knowles’s computer-generated poem and sculpture, A House of Dust, created in association with James Tenney and generally considered to be the first computer-generated poem, had its beginnings at an informal Fluxus seminar in 1967 in which Tenney, who had been a composer-in-residence at Bell Labs in the early ’60s, demonstrated how the Fortran programming language could be employed in chance operations in artmaking. Knowles’s contribution to the session was a poem of the following structure—
a house of (list material) (list location) (list light source) (list inhabitants)
—in which combinations of the variables were randomly generated.
Our House of Trust :
a House of Signs,
a House of Find,
a House of Worry—
House or Home?
Behind both House of Trust and A House of Dust lies the deeper resource, the
Epic of Gilgamesh: Tablet VII - Academy for Ancient Texts
‘Let Enkidu die, but Gilgamesh must not die!’
On entering the House of Dust,
everywhere I looked there were royal crowns gathered in heaps,
everywhere I listened, it was the bearers of crowns,
who, in the past, had ruled the land . . . .