Watch Robyn deconstruct AI-generated poetry

For our Dazed Texts series, the ‘fembot’ reads some poetry by an actual bot – and offers up one of her favourite human poems as a comparison

TextAimee CliffFilm DirectionBec Evans

Back in 2010, when she was promoting her boundary-breaking record Body TalkRobyn sang the immortal words: “I’ve got news for you, / Fembots have feelings too.” Speaking to Pitchfork at the time, she explained: “The classic, dystopian theory about the future is not really as interesting to me... ‘Fembot’ is not really about the future or about space or anything – it's about now. Technology is becoming more organic, and using the word ‘fembot’ or ‘robot’ in a song makes things more human to me.” 

This week, in an interview with Dazed about the making of her new album Honey, she elaborated further on why she identifies as a “fembot”: “I think it’s a tool for you to look at your gender, the way society sees you. As a robot, someone else has made you – you’re already a preconceived idea, and I think sometimes that’s how you feel when you feel restricted to your sex.”

Today, as part of her guest edit of Dazed, and our Dazed Texts video series, the Swedish fembot performs a piece of AI-generated poetry – and she does it with a totally human sincerity. 

In previous Dazed Texts videos – such as Mykki Blanco reading “I Want a Dyke for President”, and Troye Sivan reading the lyrics of “Mystery of Love” – the focus has been an artist’s performance of one text. But this wouldn’t be a Robyn edit if it wasn’t a little different: this time, Robyn pauses midway through her reading to offer us her interpretation, and to read an extract from a second poem, this time by a human: “Arvet” by Bruno K. Öijer, from his 2008 poetry collection Black as Silver.

The two readings have some subtle, surprisingly moving similarities. As Robyn puts it: “I wouldn’t say either one is more authentic than the other... but they’re definitely written by two different kinds of beings.”

See all of the articles from Robyn’s guest edit here, and watch the film above.

Robyn reads AI-generated poetry:

Performed by Robyn

Directed, produced and edited by Bec Evans 
Hair and make-up by Robyn’s team Francisco and Ignacio
Production assistants Comfort Adeneye and Kavosh Jalali
Additional edit Georgie Daley 
Executive producer Thomas Gorton

Special thanks Robin, Hannah TW, Chloe Melick, Lin, Aimee Cliff