Humans

  • Margaret Rhee (author)
  • Elæ Moss (artist)

ISBN

978-1-946031-12-9

LCCN

2017909506

Page count

96

Publication date

2017

Language(s)

English

Publication media type

Print Document
Hybrid

Publication series

Kin(d)* Texts & Projects

Love, Robot

“Poetry is rightly destroyed and rebuilt in the abrasive caress of we whose claims upon the human, having constantly been denied by man, put the human to the test. It’s still held by many to be a scientific fact that the humanities are not for us. At the same time, surrounding that dimensionless enclosure, whose inside and outside we refuse, we are the humanities, that fleshly mechanics, and LOVE, ROBOT is a missive from that ongoing refusal. ‘I know it hurts. But/code fails’ so beautifully in Margaret Rhee’s hand and ear. ‘The world was not made for love,’ she says. So let’s follow her on out of it.” — Fred Moten

“The poems of LOVE, ROBOT are delicate and smooth, witty and touching, and yes, occasionally odd and strange, as human beings themselves are. In a paradoxical and wonderful way, Margaret Rhee’s robot love affairs make us rethink what it might mean to be human.” — Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer

“Margaret Rhee’s LOVE, ROBOT is a gorgeous, brainy collection of poems about erotic connections between humans and machines and the impossibility of disentangling the one from the other. Love machines thrum through these poems, all lit up with desire and electric light, showing ‘how to make a circuit.’ LOVE, ROBOT resonates with works of great science fiction such as Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Ted Chiang’s The Lifecycle of Software Objects, and Marge Piercy’s He, She, and It, but offers something different, rare, and beautiful in its piercing lyricism and keen, surprising pleasures.” — Shelley Streeby, author of Radical Sensations and the Director of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop

“…As Rhee writes: ‘I loved you but/you could not make us beautiful. / I loved you because you could make beautiful things / that I never got to keep.’ This way of calling out to a beloved, with whom a reciprocal feeling or encounter is never certain, reminded me — not in its form, but in its feeling — of the Mira Bai’s bhajans. Has Margaret Rhee written the world’s first cyberbhajan? ‘S]ay, robot,’ the book ends: ‘murmur to me, it is the middle of the night. / …we all deserve a song that is untranslatable.’ How beautiful, how ultra-real: I found this sentiment, this voltage, this unspeakable song: to be.” — Bhanu Kapil

A collection of love poetry that undercuts and reassembles narratives, LOVE, ROBOT is an experimental text that humanizes our relationship with technology. Through liaisons between humans and machines in a science fictional world, the collection offers a tense, playful, yet complex portrait of love, reflective of our contemporary moment. Rhee draws from a wide array of forms from poetics and robotics such as algorithms, narrative poetry, chat scripts, and failed sonnets to create a world of transgressive love. This vision of an artificially intelligent future reveals and questions the contours of the human, and how robots and humans fall in and out of love.

About the Contributor(s)

Margaret Rhee is a poet, new media artist, and scholar. She is the author of Love, Robot (The Operating System, 2017) named a 2017 Best Book of Poetry by Entropy Magazine, awarded an Elgin Award by the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and the 2019 Book Prize in Poetry by the Asian American Studies Association. She is also the author of poetry chapbooks Yellow (Tinfish Press, 2011), and Radio Heart; or, How Robots Fall Out of Love (Finishing Line Press, 2015), awarded a 2017 Elgin Award, Science Fiction Poetry Association and named a 2015 Split This Rock Poetry Book We Love.

Her new media art project The Kimchi Poetry Machine was selected for the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 3. Literary fellowships include Kundiman, Hedgebrook, the Kathy Acker Fellowship, and the Sierra Nevada College MFA 2019 Writer-in-Residence. Currently, she is completing her first monograph, How We Became Human: Race, Robots, and the Asian American Body, and a collection of lyrical essays on electronic literature.

She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in ethnic and new media studies and her BA in English/Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. Currently, she is a College Fellow in Digital Practice in the English Department at Harvard University and an Assistant Professor at SUNY Buffalo in the Department of Media Study.

Elæ Moss is a multimodal artist-researcher, curator, designer, and educator. Seeking Speculative Solidarities, they employ analog and digital media to investigate human, institutional and ecological systems and to iterate open source strategies for ecological and social change. Recent projects have shown at La Mama Galleria, EFA Project Space, STWST/Ars Electronica, Usdan Gallery, Judson Church, the Segal Center, SOHO20, Dixon Place, and the Exponential Festival, among others. Select publications include Big Echo, Tagvverk, Vestiges, Matters of Feminist Practice, The Transgender Narratives Anthology, Choice Words: Writers on Abortion, The Brooklyn Poets Anthology, and Resist Much, Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance. Books include Ground, Blood Altas, Overview Effect, Sweet and Low: Indefinite Singular, Bodies of Work, and The Precarity Bodyhacking Work-Book and Guide. Moss is a Professor at Pratt Institute, and the developer / founder of the Operating System + Liminal Lab. More at: https://onlywhatican.net and https://theoperatingsystem.org.

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