House of Trust

Stephanie Strickland & Ian Hatcher

[ against erasure ]


House of Trust

Stephanie Strickland & Ian Hatcher

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

Enlil said:
‘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 . . . .

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