This paper compares and contrasts approaches to combinatorics in OULIPO and Recombinant Poetics. OULIPO, also known as Ouvroir de Litérature Potentielle, is a literary and artistic association founded in the 1960s whose combinatoric methods and experimental concepts continue to be generative and relevant to this day. Recombinant Poetics is a term that I coined in 1995 in order to define a particular approach to emergent meaning that is used in generative virtual environments and other computer-based combinatoric media forms. Combinatoric works enable the exploration of sets of media elements in different orders and combinations. The meaning of such work is derived through dynamic interaction. Another group exploring combinatorics uses digital audio techniques. The abbreviation “VS” (“versus”) is often used in techno-audio remix culture to designate the remix of one group's music by another, often having only an oblique relation to the original.

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Author notes

Bill Seaman's work explores text, image, and sound relationships through virtual reality, video, computer controlled videodisc, CD-ROM, photography, and studio-based audio compositions. He is self-taught as a composer and musician. His works have been included in numerous international festivals where he has been awarded prizes such as the Prix Ars Electronica in Interactive Art, Linz, Austria (1992 and 1995); International Video Art Prize, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; Bonn Videonale prize; First Prize for Multimedia, Berlin Film / Video Festival (1995); and the Awards in the Visual Arts Prize. Selected exhibitions include “MEDIASCAPE” at the Guggenheim, New York (1996); the premiere exhibition of the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany (1997); Barbican Centre, London (1997); C3-Center for Culture Communication, Budapest, Hungary (1997); “Portable Sacred Grounds,” NTT-ICC Tokyo (in 1998); “Body Mechanique” at The Wexner Center, Columbus, Ohio (1999). Seaman received his M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. from the Centre for Advanced Inquiry in Interactive Arts (CaiiA), University of Wales, UK.