Art project Delete by Haiku


To gain a better understanding of haiku poetry and how it relates to the mechanics of letting go and recycling text, we conducted a workshop consisting of different exercises. In our project we are making use of an artistic practice as part of the creative process, we open up a creative and design space with an artistic technique – haiku.

The main task of the workshop was to explore how we can use haiku poetry as a medium for recycling SMS messages and archives. The workshop was based on the “research through design” method, established by Zimmerman: following this approach, designers produce novel integrations of HCI research in an attempt to make the right thing: a product that transforms the world from its current state to a preferred.

Settings of the Workshop

Eight participants took part in this workshop. All of them were familiar with Haiku poetry, although few of them had previously created Haikus of their own. The workshop was led by two of the authors, and it consisted of a series of exercises, conducted one by one, as well as group reflection in between each of the exercises. Video, audio and pictures were taken throughout as well as a collection of the materials produced. At the end all the results from the workshop were given away to the participants. Most of them were creating haikus for the first time and all of them created haikus in English.

The study was conducted at Mobile Life, Stockholm, research centre, and all the participants were researchers in HCI from different backgrounds (arts, anthropology, psychology, sociology and computer science). The time provided for each exercise was made flexible and the whole workshop ended up lasting longer than predicted.


The workshop consisted of seven different exercises ranging from generative to associative approaches. Generative approaches involved recycling text in various ways e.g. to create a collage, while later in the workshop we applied an associative approach where haikus were created in more interpretative and intuitive ways, through associations to artefacts.

The exercises were as follow: “Haiku Book Hack” (1): it consisted on blending texts from different books, taking random lines from each one and merging them together into a haiku (Figure 4c). (2) “Cut Mix”: this one revolved around cutting headlines from different newspapers provided. Participants were given different pages (sports, world news, etc.) and ended up cutting other texts as well, than just the headlines, seen in Figure 3. (3) This was a form of traditional creation of a haiku poem. (4) “Newspaper on Fire”: at this stage we moved outside of the building and participants were invited to burn a piece of newspaper until there was only a little piece left. The purpose was to create a haiku through this semi-controlled process. This one was one of the most successful exercise, as we will see further on. (5) “Pictures and Memories”: abstract and blurry photographs were combined with smaller illustrative drawings together with a short text on the backside of the images. The haikus were then created through associations with artefact. (6) “Objects and Sounds” was also an associative exercise, this time using different physical artefacts and sounds as inspiration. Each participant got three random objects where at least one of them was connected to sounds they could play or listen to. And finally in the (7) “Reflective Haiku” participants were asked to compile the previously created poems into one, followed by a reflective discussion on the whole workshop.

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This entry was posted on March 10, 2014 by and tagged .
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