online performance 20.12.2020
Fact by Rae Armantrout

1. Operation Phantom Fury.
2. The full force
3. of the will to live
4. is fixed
5. on the next
6. occasion:
7. someone
8. coming with a tray,
9. someone
10. calling a number.
11. Each material
12. fact
13. is a pose,
14. an answer
15. waiting to be chosen.
16. "Just so," it says.
17. "Ask again!"

Negative Poetry Human Algorithm is an online performance bridging collective thinking, theatre and complexity science. A computer made of people tackles the complex task of transforming a poem into its opposite, thereby generating a potentially infinite combinatorial polyphony of possibilities.

Orion Maxted (theatre maker/artscientist), Katarina Petrović (artscientist), Renske Vroomans (evolutionary biologist), Enrico Sandro Colizzi (evolutionary biologist), Izabelė Jonušaitė (philosopher), Sára Iványi (poet), Thomas Dudkiewicz (theatre maker), Marie Groothof (theatre maker) and Cadell Last (philosopher).Programming and technical support by Keez Duyves (PIPSlab) and Jur de Vries. The Interactions group is hosted and supported by the Institute for Advanced Study, University of Amsterdam (IAS).

The work is a collaboration between Katarina Petrović, Orion Maxted and The Interactions group. The Interactions group is a transdisciplinary ‘thought band’ of roughly 20 artists, scientists and philosophers who together explore the weird and wonderful folds in the dimensions of all possible collective thought through experiments in collective intelligence, complexity science, cybernetics and algorithmic theatre.

Negative Poetry centres around the entanglement of matter and meaning by focusing on the intriguing and paradoxical concept of zero - that which is simultaneously both something and nothing. The work is an experiment in language that focuses on the mathematical concept of approaching zero and the concept of cancellation, where -n and n result in 0. In calculus, we can approach zero from either a positive or a negative direction, and the resulting limit of each equation is infinity (∞ and -∞). The question is - can the same be applied to natural language?

About the exhibition
Negative Poetry Human Algorithm collective performance is presented as part of the exhibition Negative Poetry. Negative Poetry is an online research exhibition by Katarina Petrović exploring the possibility of approaching zero through language. The work consists of two experimental setups - the Negative Poetry Machine Algorithm, a custom made software that translates the Bible into its negative using the database of the Oxford English Dictionary, and the Negative Poetry Human Algorithm, a live online performance made of nine people and developed in collaboration between Katarina Petrović, Orion Maxted and The Interactions group.
The exhibition is virtually hosted by the Museum of Science and Technology in Belgrade.