Margaret Rhee, “The Kimchi Poetry Machine”

Poetry machine with paper flowers (red bloom series, a poetry altar for)

Close up of poetry machine and paper machine poems

Sample paper machine poem

Full image of poetry machine


Margaret Rhee (Los Angeles, CA) /

The Kimchi Poetry Machine
Glass, tangible computing, paper
Unique work
8″x 6-1/2″

Through my new media art, I utilize both digital and analog materials to construct a participatory praxis that engages with poetry, education, and equality.

What began as a personal passion of encouraging public participation of creative expression has translated into large-scale participatory art workshops, installations, and inventions that promote interaction and collective storytelling. I have implemented participatory digital storytelling workshops in the San Francisco Jail, created a digital game based on an artificial intelligence book for the UC Berkeley campus, and invented a poetry machine that envisions how poetry can be tangible, feminist, and interactive in our near future. My work expands our imaginaries of how we read and interact with poetry in our digital age.

My current project includes the Kimchi Poetry Machine, which is a different kind of jar. Instead of kimchi, there are small paper pieces of poetry. And when the jar is opened, instead of the pungent smells of fermented cabbage filling your nostrils, your eardrums are lulled by the luminous readings of poetry written by a variety of invited feminist poets. The machine is powered by open-source electronic prototyping platforms such as Arduino and Adafruit and reimagines how poetry can be written, listened to, and interacted with in the near future.

I am also a poet, and a scholar of new media and literature. My conceptual and new media artwork draws from my scholarly and poetic writing and thinking.

While my materials differ from project to project, my aim remains the same: to curate participatory avenues of creating and interacting with poetry and story collaboratively in our digital age and near future.