Created by Dutch artist Gijs van Bon, “Skryf” is a robo-poet that composes its verse in a trail of sand. The tricycle like mechanism consists of a modified CNC milling machine on wheels, which van Bon controls via a laptop. Skryf is programmed to take its time and slowly print the lines so that by the time the poem is finished, the first lines have been destroyed. Van Bon says this is intentional — a statement about the fleeting nature of poetry.
“When you’re writing one [line of] text, another one is going away because people start walking through it,” he told Dezeen. “Once I’ve finished writing, I walk the same way back but it’s all destroyed. It’s ephemeral, it’s just for this moment and afterwards it’s left to the public and to the wind.”
Unlike some artificially intelligent robots that generate content, Skryf’s words are chosen by Van Bon. ”I can just type in text and it converts it to a code that the machine accepts,” he explained. “It writes letter by letter and in the four hours that I write per day it will write about 160 meters.”
Van Bon said he’s been traveling to various festivals around the world with his robo-poet and usually selects poems with cultural relevance. ”I’ve been with Skryf throughout Europe and once to Australia,” he said. “In Eindhoven, I’m writing the poems of Merel Morre. She is the city poet of Eindhoven; she reflects on what is happening now in the city.”
Check out Skryf in action with the following video.