Skip to content

The Agrippa Files – poetry on a 3½ inch disk

Having been around for a little while, presumably, an interesting early experiment in computer poetics of sorts has just come to our attention. The Agrippa Files is an online archive of resources based on Agrippa (a book of the dead), a 1992 collaboration between Dennis Ashbaugh, William Gibson and Kevin Begos, Jr.

Originally published as a limited release art-book, Agrippa had buried, in its last page, a disk containing a 305-line memory poem:

That disk, which contains the 305-line text of Gibson’s memory poem about his father and his own youth (captured for reflection by the “mechanism” of a camera and a 1920 Kodak “Agrippa” brand photo album), scrolls its text up the screen once as an encryption program makes it seem to vanish, locking it up irretrievably in a kind of zen code (actually, RSA-based code) for nothingness.

Thus, The Agrippa Files is a scholarly site designed to make the published book and its accompanying ephemera of documents, images, software, and reception history more accessible.

You can view an emulation of the original disk running here, a detailed bibliographical description here, or the website and its related resources here.