I'm pleased to announce the launch of reiku.me - a viewspace for a new art form I have dubbed reiku, for REcycled haIKU. Composed using formulaic cultural recycling on a large body of public domain texts, the engine produces haiku poetry and overlays the results against a nice background for an additional layer of juxtaposition. The front page is refreshed multiple times daily, with the most popular pieces moving into the permanent collections. The site is designed to be light and fun, and I have already queued up enough content to provide fresh material for several years.
The format of haiku is appealing for a number of reasons, and the art form enjoys a strong, if somewhat small, following. While there are many traditions, there are very few rules. The reiku engine respects the "17 on" rule: the first line should have 5 syllables, the second 7 and the third 5. Because only select fragments are used from each source text, the resulting haiku retains a sense of context while also encouraging cuts and juxtaposition - techniques that provide the essence of successful haiku. The background image provides a further layer of potential contrast, and is intended to be an integral component of reiku.

All of this would be impossible to accomplish with pure randomness, and would be a difficult task for a pure AI to do successfully. While this project is intended to be a fun exercise, the engine has already produced some very appealing and thought provoking pieces. And while I have no doubt there will be purists that reject reiku as a legitimate form, I really don't give a damn - they can get stuffed. Haiku as a format has evolved so much that claiming to be a purist is suspect in itself.

One major appeal of haiku is the constrained nature of the form. The artist is required to use very few words to convey meaning. This terseness means that the art can be digested quickly and considered meaningfully by almost anyone. Reiku haiku, based on its derivative nature, takes this a step further. Because there is a deep context behind each construction, we find traces of it in the final expression. Those with active imaginations will find consuming reiku to be a fruitful exercise technique that can help grow that imagination.

I expect the site to continue to evolve, but one aspect will remain consistent. The front page will always feature new reiku several times a day, and it will always be free. Reading these during the editorial approval process has already added value to my life and provoked a great deal of thought in some cases. My hope is that it similarly enriches the lives of others in some way and, importantly, challenges the strict human/AI dichotomy with which many people view the future production of art. If nothing else, reiku proves it just isn't that simple.

Rob Loggia

Rob Loggia is the founder of LoggiaOnFire Magazine. He has been published in the International Business Times UK, Digital Trends and on numerous online blogs and platforms.

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