The Haikube is a free-moving three-dimensional cube handmade from ebony. Each three-inch face is comprised of nine unit cubes. On the exterior face of each unit cube is a word. On each of the six faces of the cube, the nine unit cubes form a nine-word poem modelled after the syllabic structure of the traditional Japanese haiku. Beyond the horizontal symmetry of the haiku, the constraint of the Haikube follows a further vertical symmetry. Each column and row of the unit cubes can rotate around the central point. It is an edition of two.
The poems collected in this book were all generated by the random rotation of the Haikube. By aleatory manipulation, the Haikube can thus randomly create haikus – poems by chance. The poems that begin each chapter in this selection were the original orientation of the nine unit cubes. We prefer to think of these particular patterns as the originary faces rather than the solution. As this collection attests there are multiple solutions to the cube – each a moment of pause in the Haikube’s perpetual motion.
The Haikube is one of Matt Donovan and Hallie Siegal’s History Machines; an ongoing dialogue about art and communication. They have been creating collaborative work for this series since 2002. This particular machine utilizes Gregory Betts’ constraint-based experimental writing. He is the author of If Language, a book of interconnected paragraph-length anagrams published last year by BookThug.