Griot is a computer program designed and written by Fox Harrell in joint work with Joseph Goguen. Its purpose is to generate interactive multimedia events, and its main component is a novel algorithm called Alloy, which generates new conceptual structures by integrating other conceptual structures, based on recent research in cognitive linguistics, computer science, and semiotics; in particular, Alloy uses the algebraic semiotics formalization of the cognitive linguistics theory of conceptual integration, also called "blending," which says that metaphors arise as side effects of blending (see Style as Choice of Blending Principles for details). The semiotic spaces of algebraic semiotics are used, rather than the mental spaces developed by Fauconnier for cognitive linguistics, because we need the greater generality given by n-ary relations, structure construcing functions, types, and axioms, for integration at the syntactic and discourse levels, as well as for generating novel metaphors; we also need the greater rigor in order to build computer algorithms. Our initial experiments have used Griot to produce "polypoems," which are a new art form, consisting of very large families of poems having a common theme and qualitative feeling, but varying structure and varying content, using novel metaphors from Alloy. Typical elements of two polypoem are given given below. The first uses Labov's structural theory of narrative (see Notes on Narrative) at the discourse level; however, there are many other possibilities, such as haibun, which was used in our The Griot Sings Haibun performance, a sample from which is also given below.
More background information, including references, may be found on the Computational Narratology homepage.
her tale began when she was infected with smugnessloveitis.
she began her days looking in the mirror at her own
itchy entitled face.
her failure was ignoring her tormented angel nature.
life was an astounding miracle.
nordic-beauty death-figure vapor steamed from her pores
when she rode her bicycle.
that was nothing lovely.
when 21 she was a homely woman.
she decided to persevere;
in the rain, she fears only epidermis imperialists.
she believes that evil pride devours and alternates with
pride of hope.
it was no laughing matter.
she snuggles in angel skin sheets and sleeps.
inside she was resolved to never find
a smug or paranoid love.
qualia are moonlight moments of luminous form,
moments of emptiness & consciousness
fleeting, luminous, empty
qualia are not objective platonic truths
gone, no loss, no gain
clear moments of empty cloud masses
mind cloud ocean
luminous static canopy
past unending & empty blue mind road
almost too lovely to bear
pipes, vivid dust red
connected form & heart dust
dependent, empty, no void
still more than stillness
save us from desire, tender
bright hunger, concept billboard
neon, void, lost
hanging vapor & desire, other
beyond form & emptiness
writhing, mutated, infinite
light, dots, ever
swimming, flesh empty luminous
infinite empty perception
living illusion & moving, completed