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Over the summer of 2017 myself, Fanny Josefsson and Ilana Wolstein discovered a mutual admiration for the abstract — and frequently profound — sentences generated by repeated use of the predictive text bar on Apple’s iOS.
Predictive text draws from a library of each user’s most frequently used words to contextually suggest three words most likely to follow another. In doing so, it creates a fragmented recollection of messages we have already sent; a broken portrait of us and how we communicate.
To create the poems, an initial word was chosen and from there, the predictive text library was navigated with a choice of only three words at a time. To maintain the flow of writing, punctuation and line breaks were generally added afterwards.
In essence, this becomes a form of restricted writing, akin to the minimalist poets of the 20th Century. The results are at times clumsy or childlike, occasionally falling into a feedback loop, while others present us with truly poetic, existential observations.