When I was little, magnetic poetry was all the rage. For those who are too young to remember: These were packets of magnetic words that you’d string together on your refrigerator to make clever phrases.
Everyone was suddenly an amateur poet, and refrigerators around the world were adorned with intriguing (if not slightly bizarre) phrases, thanks to these magnetic jumble of random words.
Well, as refrigerators transformed into stainless steel, and literally lost their magnetic quality, this build-your-own poetry craze fizzled out.
But one man seems to be bringing it back. Only, he’s doing it online.
Check out the website www.Simulating.Life. Give it a few seconds to load, then watch it auto-play.
The site strings together domains (a.k.a. website URLs) into a mesmerizing form of digital poetry. Although the poetry might not be to everyone's taste -- there are a number of references to "death" and "dead" things, for instance -- the style in which this poem unravels is pretty cool.
That's because each verse on the screen corresponds to a matching domain in the browser.
But instead of ending in ‘dot-com’ (.com) – because where’s the poetry in that? – each verse ends in one of the newest "not-com" domains. These range from 'dot-coffee' (.coffee) to 'dot-technology' (.technology) to 'dot-house' (.house).
Check out the start of this poem, for instance, which auto-scrolls through three separate screens that mirror three corresponding domain names:
All three of these end words (technology, computer and life) are real domain endings. As in 'dot-technology' (.technology). As in 'dot-computer' (.computer). As in 'dot-life' (.life). These words are part of a massive Internet rollout that includes hundreds of new domain options. While these new options give people a more meaningful way to brand their website or business online, this author used this expanded digital palette to create a poem straddling two digital canvases: the computer screen and the browser bar.
And who exactly is this digital wordsmith? His name is Adolfo Grego. He is a founding partner of Punto 2012, a company behind the launch of domain endings such as ‘dot-rest’ (.rest) and ‘dot-bar’ (.bar), according to DomainGang.com. While an "insider" on the Internet side of things, he appears to have a poet's appreciation for the power of words.
“I’ve always had a deep interest in language, literature, science fiction, poetry and narrative,” he told the online publication. “Simulating.Life may be the most widespread work I have made, thanks to the Internet, of course. I honestly hope it endures.”
If anything, this innovative -- if not altogether quirky -- website could inspire a new generation of digital poets.