1stfans Twitter Art Feed Artist for July 2009: Ranjit Bhatnagar’s “Exquisite Sonnet”

Judging by the number of re-tweets Nick’s “Poor SpumoniNick’s Almanack” project received, I think it’s safe to say that 1stfans enjoy Twitter Art Feed projects that mix language and wit with a little interactivity. This month, we ramp up the interactivity to create the first ever work of art by 1stfans themselves. Ranjit Bhatnagar, whose personal website has been around since 1993 (!!), submitted a proposal for the Twitter Art Feed that demonstrated his great understanding of how twitter works and what creative possibilities lie within the daily interactions on this platform.


Screenshot of the original “Exquisite Sonnet” project in 1992, a collaboratively-produced sonnet.

Ranjit’s proposition is actually an updated version of a project he did a long time ago (at least in internet years), and Shelley and I are convinced it’s going to work really well with the 1stfans crowd we have on twitter right now. Here’s Ranjit’s proposal:

Long ago in the dark ages of the internet I conducted a version of the surrealists’ language games. In the “Exquisite Sonnet Project” (1992) I had participants write a sonnet, one line each; each person only knowing the preceding line and the rhyme they had to match. I edited the entries slightly for meter and posted the results of each sonnet as it was completed I’ll do a similar project for the 1stfans feed, constructing a group sonnet over the course of the month. 1stfans members can submit candidate lines for the sonnet by posting to @1stfans, and every two days I’ll choose a line and re-tweet it.  Submissions which follow the meter and rhyme constraints of the sonnet form will have the best chance of being chosen, and I might edit them slightly to fit.  People who want to talk about the project should use the hashtag #exquisitesonnet. I’ll also make a web application which creates random sonnets from all the submissions that at least come close to fitting the sonnet rules (launching mid-July).


In the 1992 “Exquisite Sonnet” project, the entire process was done over email. This time around, the sonnet will be composed entirely via Twitter.

If the concepts don’t seem straightforward, they will soon after the tweeting begins. You’ll get the hang of it, and Ranjit (@ranjit) and I (@willcary) will be able to help out with any questions that may arise throughout the month. What’s exciting is that at the end of the month, we’ll end up with a 1stfans-produced sonnet that everyone can enjoy. If you want to be part of this project and are not a 1stfan Member, you can join here.

The 1stfans Twitter Art Feed is no longer a benefit of 1stfans membership, but the original feed in its entirety has been archived on the Brooklyn Museum website.