Making Apollo Guidance Computer Code-Based Erasure Poetry


The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) code facilitated the Moon landing, a feat whose fiftieth anniversary we celebrate this month. As the Moon landing represents the achievement of what that code enabled, my new, co-authored book Moonbit (punctum books, 2019) seeks to highlight what that code said along the way. Moonbit celebrates the way in which we wrote our way to the Moon, in natural language and in machine language. Much of the AGC code commentary contains interesting and even radical speech acts. Humor reads as resistance. Scatological jokes riff on cleaning products and enemas. Appeals are made. Current events are written into the fabric of the code. Cultural signs are embedded in the commentary. The code did what it was written to do yet it is still speaking to readers in the present.

Have you taken a look at Apollo Guidance Computer code? If you haven’t seen this code yet, treat yourself. July 20, 2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Moon landing. Many books are coming out now that will suggest new ways of thinking about Apollo 11 but many repeat the triumphal top-down masculine narratives of Cold War technoscience. Moonbit listens to the Apollo Guidance Computer code, and translates it into poetry, allowing the code itself to sing.

Continue reading Making Apollo Guidance Computer Code-Based Erasure Poetry on HASTAC’s site. HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) is an interdisciplinary community of humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists, and technologists changing the way we teach and learn.