Toni, the Urban Poet

Toni, The Urban Poet is an installation made in collaboration with Fragmentin , and exhibited at MuDA. It is a project on participative poetry driven by a pink box which invites the passersby to stop by opening up and revealing a set of three buttons. Each button corresponds to a different mood (calm, stressed, intrigued) which influences a piece of poetry generated and displayed inside the museum. An algorithm based on probabilistic Context Free Grammars (CFG) generates poetry, which is then parsed via sentiment analysis in order to match the average mood of those who interacted with the box.

The Box

Custom made and painted, it features at its center an Arduino Feather communicating ech button press to a laptop located in the museum via, a popular tool which allows to interconnect objects, devices and apps. The box was positioned at the entrance of the MuDA, which is located in the proximity of the Toni complex in Zurich.

The software

The algorithm uses a custom made Context-Free Grammar and sentiment analysis driven by the collective results of the button presses to generate poems, which were then projected on a wall in the museum. It has been written in Javascript using the library p5.js , and it is available for study upon request.

Video documentation available here.