Language Workbench

The GTR Language Workbench can best be described as a digital studio for language allowing any number of literary and aesthetic modifications to texts, similar to the way current graphic design software like Photoshop and audio software like Sound Forge permit artists to create, modify and combine different visual and sound pieces.

Technically, this software project means to explore how creative writing (and language use in general) might take advantage of digital processing applications to create new and innovative forms of literary art, electronic or otherwise. Through a collection of various pattern matchers, the software can detect numerous linguistic structures both syntactic and semantic. The pattern matchers create linguistic data models by generating annotations on a text. Document processors act on these annotations to perform analysis, transformations, or to generate new texts. The software functions similar to existing word processing software, but greatly extends the compositional options available which have not changed much in traditional word processing applications since their initial development in the early 1980s.

Theoretically, the tool inherently values the continuous creation of new vernacular patterns over the socially sanctioned implications of history and cultural dominance. It emphasizes a dynamic engagement with language as an ever-changing system of signification and rhetorical performance. It challenges the traditional roles and relationships of reader, editor and author in the compositional process and provides new compositional units and modes of writing to writers.

Historically, the software has a direct relationship to previous modernist and post modernist experiments in poetry and conceptual art which embrace a deregularised field of composition and a view of writing that is immersed in a critique of standards, origins and ideological authority.

The workbench has had two incarnations: a desktop application, and a newer web based version. The desktop application was developed in 2004, and was a 32 bit Java based desktop application. Maintenance of that application lapsed over the years and the application no longer functions on newer 64 bit systems.

The newer web based version is still in beta, and can be found here:

http://workbench.gtrlabs.org