Sunrose (interactive poem)


Click to view “Sunrose” (Javascript version). Also available: OpenProcessing (no audio).

Sunrose is an interactive poem created using the open-source Java-based development environment Processing. This was an assignment for the Coursera class Creative Programming for Digital Media & Mobile Apps. The concept was to create a relaxing and warm experience similar to just waking up, and how quickly that reverie fades away, by allowing the user to play with “sunlight” and words.

I wrote a simple and short poem that could be broken up into pieces and reordered randomly. As the user clicks, they bring up lines to create the poem. By dragging, releasing and pausing, they also create orange, yellow and white circles that grow and pulse slowly, mirror each other, and sprout other circles/bits of “light” that overlap and eventually “erase” whatever came before it.

For the poem, I was very inspired by e.e. cummings’ works like in time of daffodils (who know, where there is a lot of seemingly random punctuation and repetition or illogical order of words, with a lyrical effect and meaning that emerges if you simply listen to it without paying too much attention. In the end I took out the punctuation as it seemed a bit distracting with the dots of “light” that were everywhere; also, I couldn’t decide on a final punctuation anyways, and depending on the order in which the words/phrases appear you could be quite playful with it. The full text of the original poem, with one option for punctuation, is below:

morning, good morning
awaking, I woke.
rising, I slowly, gently, arose.
quietly, lightly, softer than air–
sun rose, the sun
rose: floating
and fair.

Below are some work-in-progress screenshots and links to the Processing sketches I created of “wormholes” that eventually were used in Sunrose. The code is far from perfect, but I’ve left it all as-is from the time of my submission.

EarlyWormholeExperiment_01 EarlyWormholeExperiment_02

Early Wormhole Experiments // Sunlight sketch