Welcome to Evolution.

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Evolution is an online artwork-in-progress designed to emulate the texts and music of poet and artist Johannes Heldén, with the ultimate goal of passing "The Imitation Game Test" as proposed by Alan Turing in 1951.

With Evolution we aim to examine and dissect the role of the author; when new poetry that resembles the work of the original author is created or presented through an algorithm, is it possible to make the distinction between "author" and "programmer"? And is it even relevant? When the work of the algorithm is extrapolated to the point where the original author becomes redundant, how does this affect copyright, legacy, future writings, etc?

The purpose of the work is not to deromanticize or deconstruct the role of the author, but is rather the ongoing exploration itself. Where will it take us, and perhaps more importantly, what will happen along the way?

The release of Evolution will mark the end of Johannes Heldén writing poetry books. He has, in a sense, been replaced.

The application analyzes a database of all the published text- and soundworks by the artist and generates a continuously evolving poem that simulates Heldén’s style: in vocabulary, the spacing in-between words, syntax.

The audio track is generated by an algorithm that layers the source material of the artist’s compositions in differing randomized lengths, fades and pitch; creating an evolving ambient drone.

Produced with financial support from
Johannes Heldén
Johannes Heldén is an author, visual artist, musician. Born 1978, lives and works in Stockholm, he is the author of eleven books, four digital interactive artworks, three full-length music albums. Previous solo exhibitions include: OEI Colour Project (w/Håkan Jonson), Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm, Kalmar Konstmuseum, Galleri Volt in Bergen, Stene Projects in Stockholm, The Gothenburg Museum of Art amongst others. Group exhibitions include Remediating the Social at Inspace, Edinburgh, Against Time at Bonniers Konsthall, In Search of the Unknown at NIMK Amsterdam, Chercher le texte at Centre Pompidou amongst others. Digital works published in the ELMCIP anthology of European Electronic Literature, Spring Gun Press, Afsnit P and others.


Håkan Jonson
Håkan Jonson is a programmer, publisher and artist. Born 1978, lives and works in Stockholm. His previous work includes sound creation, conceptual visual designs, hand-crafted books and paintings. He is one half of Irrlicht; a publishing house and record company which primary focus is the contemporary art scene.

The print version of Evolution is out now on OEI editör, featuring the entirety of the code, the performance script and log as well as contributions by John Cayley, Maria Engberg, Jesper Olsson, Jonas Ingvarsson, Cecilia Lindhé and Jakob Lien.

Evolution is the winner of the N.Katherine Hayles Prize.