[ OSX ] [ LINUX debian / raspbian ] install wordnet for processing + RiTa

“Wordnet is definitely not written for use by humans.” – a helpful friend

I work with language as a poet. I write “poems for paper” as well as “poems for spoken-word performance”. In both, often, fragments of narrative appear as images.

In video, I’m exploring what I call the ‘variable narrative’, iterating tiny moments of story.



untitled video still [ the gravedigger’s meditation, 2014 : hybrid literary project ] spiral text composite layer created in Processing

Playing with ‘text as mark’ in Processing is pretty fun & relatively simple. Text added as strings can be expressed glyphs of this or that font. Strings of text can take particular shapes or be used as brushstrokes. In the image above, the entire text of Gogol’s short story The Overcoat becomes a shifting textured layer composited into an animated short film. The spiral text composite layer was made using math and one loooooong string of text.

~ RiTa : extends Processing’s use of language by referencing text’s meaning ~

RiTa, a Java-based coding toolkit that can be added to Processing, allows artists to work with meaning / words by role in language / rather than just text as mark.

example one : Automatype by Daniel C. Howe

example two : Spin State by Michael Coppola

~ installing RiTA inside Processing ~

With Processing open, go to the menubar: Sketch > Import Library > Add library

The library installer will open. Scroll down to RiTa.

  • If it is pickable, pick it & install!
  • If it is greyed out [ as it was for me ] one must instead go to rednoise.org and download the dependancy, unzip it, and stick the folder in the library directory your installation of Processing uses. If you have not customized your setup,the directory order [ on Mac ] : ~/Documents/Processing/libraries. Stick the folder that happens when you unzip the download into the /libraries folder. Relaunch Processing and you’ll find it. RiTa’s examples will also show up in the examples, under contributed libraries.

The RiTa reference guides the coder through toolset’s functionality & what it can do to explore art-related ideas on the meaning/language tip.

~ Word Net : high level text analysis with ‘parts of speech’ tagging and dictionary definitions ~

To further dig into meaning, to access markov language part-of-speech tagging, the necessary dependancy? wordnet“its primary use is in automatic text analysis and artificial intelligence applications.” ~ wikipedia

RiTa’s toolkit allows me to plug in wordnet analysis & execution functionality into Processing sketches. To do that, I needed a local installation. I tried to use the documentation provided by Princeton to create a local wordnet installation, and fell down several successive rabbitholes, each of which ended on ‘nope’.

Wordnet can be used with many coding languages – PERL, Python, SQL, and PHP etc etc.

Processing and Python use different operational approaches to installing dependancies. It was a head-turner to shift to the Python-like approach – using [ on Mac ] terminal, with sudo pip commands.

There’s this other thing one can add to Mac which provides “one terminal command installation power for many many dependancies”. It’s a  kit called Homebrew, built with the Ruby programming language.

~ an aside on art and technology, transparency of process, and meaning ~

Have your eyes glazed over yet? The mind-numbing list of tasks above this moment in the blog post is not, in itself, an interesting thing. I know that ‘the rest of the art world’ doesn’t know how the ‘studio inside of the computer’ works. I’ve been directly treated with contempt over the digital creative process by painters, in the past*.

I’d love it if my attempts at process transparency help encourage the conversation about meaning, to discover the metaphorical power of what artists can and are doing with computers, and relate to them . . . More directly, I think it would be awesome if more ppl were using these tools in their own work. So lets get back to that to-do list.

~ to install Wordnet locally, install Homebrew. To install Homebrew, install Xcode. ~

Homebrew can install a WHOLE BUNCH of stuff for me, besides wordnet, when attempting to sudo pip3 install various dependancies for Python and something doesn’t internally link. Fantastic! OK, time to install Homebrew.

Aaand I need to install a 4.5 gb thingy from Apple called Xcode wha-  ?

OK so most of the coding things discussed in this post are script-related single-tasking things. XCode is the Mac-based development environment for building OSX software & iOS apps. Its filled with tools, testing environments, and more.

One must install xcode in order to ‘unlock’ the bash commands [ for terminal ] that one needs to install Homebrew. Randomly, you will also now have a C compiler on your Mac. You can delete it once you’re done getting the bash commands you need.

Go over to the coolest guide on the planet, and follow their step-by-step instructions to install first xcode and then homebrew. Then come back here to finish up and see how cool wordnet really can be.

~ use a terminal command to tell homebrew to install wordnet ~

Open terminal. Next to the dollarsign prompt type

brew install wordnet 

Terminal may prompt you to add several other things.

When it finishes, don’t close terminal just yet. Jot down the directory location of your wordnet installation. You’ll use it in the next step.

Go back to Processing.

File > Examples. In the pop-up : RiTa > ReplaceableWriting.

Updating the sketch to include the local directory url for wordnet. Press play.

BLAM. Now you can see what it does.

Here’s to less maddening ‘getting going’ on ideas you’re interested in . . .

~ footnotes ~

*“Oh you just push a button – ” and a some other disparaging remarks

On a Windows machine? Try Scoop instead of Homebrew; here’s a list of terminal-like command line editors for Windows systems. Processing installs for PC, and the RiTa installation workflow should hold there as well. I have no idea if Wordnet can be installed on Windows in this way, but its a starting point.

If you’re on Linux you’ve got the work ethic to figure it out yourself 💗 and that Linux installation is on a raspberry pi, all you have to do is open terminal and type this:

$ sudo apt-get install wordnet

answer a few questions and you’re set.

??? !!!

The Raspbian install of Linux is a child iteration of Debian; it includes a compiler and you don’t need to “unlock” other OS features in order to get it to work. . .

the bling poem

So far, two of my 30/30 poems are video clips. Animations. It is a puzzle, keeping the text as the focus, playing with the tension of moving text and moving image.

When I make performance works of poetry reading combined with backing film and audio sketches, they work in a much more complex and fluid way than these videos. The bling poem is fixed, for one thing – its like an in-print, book publication. Performances shift and change, they take the audience elsewhere. Since they cannot be replicated, there’s an electricity present . . . mm.

April 12 : rationalization

April 11 : honeytongue

Bling poems because the words are given the bling of movement, color, illustration, imaginary context. The words are dressed.

Most of the poems I’m publishing at my tumblr I’m posting as photos. tumblr has the worst text editing markup management system of all time, at least for me. One has almost no control over how the text looks. That’s dissatisfying.

There is nothing more fruitless than having a work process argue back with me. At times, discoveries are made during the workarounds.

Poetry begins as a series of images; poetry is the most synaesthetic of forms. When the words lock together into the right combination of sound and meaning and the images invoked parade past in an imagined slide show . . .