“Latour Swag” by Darius Kazemi

Screen capture of "Latour Swag" by Darius Kazemi. A picture of the @LatourSwag twitter profile showing its most recent tweets. Text: "@latourbot + #swag: an attempt to approximate @10rdben in bot form. Tweets every 15 minutes. By @tinysubversions. It's another ploy by the Finance Ministry and you too will have swag. #SWAG. Since they are able to interrupt, these people must be tied to new interests and boylieber happy JB! #teambieber #ilovejb #SWAG #MyLife"
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This Twitter bot produces a mashup of the “Bruno Latourbot” and original tweets that use the #swag hashtag. Kazemi describes the selection algorithm in detail in this excerpt from his blog posting about the creation of this bot.

Basically how it works is I get the last 100 Twitter search results for “#swag” that also contain the word “and”. Then I grab the last 100 tweets from @LatourBot. I take every #swag tweet that’s not an RT and push it to an array. I take every @latourbot tweet that has “and” or “,” in it, and push it to an array. Then I say there’s a 50% chance it will be latour-then-swag, and 50% that it will be swag-then-latour. If Latour comes first, I take a random Latour tweet from the array and take all the text up to the “and” or the “,”. Then I take a random swag tweet and take the text after the “and” in it. Then I do latour + ” and ” + swag. There you go.

Here’s a link to the source code.

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“Bruno Latourbot” by Anonymous

“Bruno Latourbot” by Anonymous

This Twitter bot provides random sentences from Bruno Latour’s published writings (translated into English). Its operations don’t seem to be entirely automatic or completely random because it doesn’t post on an exact mechanical schedule, it makes a different number of postings each day, it occasionally skips a day or two, and it doesn’t seem to repeat sentences. This suggests that there may be more than one actor in the (social) network, consisting of a text-mining program and a human being running it, selecting interesting results and posting them on Twitter. It is only fitting that this kind of cyborg bot tribute be offered to Latour, whose principle of “generalized symmetry” led him to study “the productions of humans and nonhumans simultaneously” (We Have Never Been Modern 103).

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@bogost_ebooks, @bogost_ebooks_ebooks, and More

This set of Twitter accounts have a little literary and other kinds of fun with, around, and in spite of Ian Bogost’s Twitter account: @ibogost (depicted below).


A leading scholar and creator of video games, he has garnered a large Twitter following by voicing his opinions on his areas of expertise and interest, as well as by having a quirky sense of humor and a knack for a well-turned tweet.

It was just a matter of time before a parody account would turn up: @bogost_ebooks.


This account seems to use some kind of Markov chain text generator feeding off of Ian Bogost’s Twitter feed and books to generate Bogost-like tweets. At this level, it is a distorted echo, a parody account that engages his writing through Flarf poetry. But this account is not on autopilot: its anonymous performer engages in conversations with Bogost on Twitter, and he has come to accept this account, to the extent that he sometimes invites @bogost_ebooks to respond to questions asked of him.

But it escalates, since other parody accounts based on Ian Bogost have continued to appear, though sometimes very briefly. Two of the most active ones are @bogost_ebooks2 and @brogost_ebooks, both of which engage in conversations with @ianbogost and @bogost_ebooks.


Note that their conversation is happening in tweet-sized quatrains composed of rhyming couplets, a constraint initiated by @bogost_ebooks_ebooks and responded to by @bogost_ebooks.


@brogost_ebooks uses a modified icon from Bogost’s game “Cow Clicker” and its description seems designed to irritate Bogost, who has been so consistent in his critique of gamification. Still, it is telling to see that Ian Bogost follows this doppelganger, perhaps to keep tabs on it (though it seems mostly harmless), like most of the other accounts depicted below.


At what point does the Twitter parody account become art?

I can think of a parallel going back to Elizabethan England, with Christopher Marlowe’s poem “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” receiving a response by Sir Walter Raleigh’s “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” (see both poems juxtaposed for comparison). And it didn’t end there, as poets over the centuries that followed parodied and responded to his poem.

The 140 character constraint on the tweet lends itself to brevity, and Ian Bogost is a master of the pithy statement. It is only fitting that the poetic compression of his language has invited responses. One can think of worse compliments than to be imitated and responded to.

“Justin Buber,” “Kantye West,” and “Kim Kierkegaardashian”

Screen capture of "Justin Buber." Twitter profile of @Justin_Buber displaying two of his most recent tweets; the avatar shows a picture of the pop singer Justin Bieber with Martin Buber's beard. Text: "Combining the pop stylings of Justin Bieber with the existential wisdom of philosopher Martin Buber / Every actual fulfillment of relation between people, means acceptance of otherness. Get your hands up if you're an out of town girl! / The bullies in the school yard can't take our hugs and our kisses from us -- no! -- for man is undone only by man's own doing."
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These three anonymous Twitter accounts (@Justin_Buber, @KantyeW, and @KimKierkegaard, respectively) all find poetry in remixing the purest expression of high culture, philosophy, with perhaps the lowest expression of popular culture: the pop celebrity tweet.

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“@georgelazenby” by Anonymous

Open “@georgelazenby” by Anonymous

This Twitter account is part of an artistic and literary performance in social media, consisting of short poetic snippets of Surrealism, the absurd, textual, photographic, and video entries, dark humor, and links to the other component of the project, a Tumblr site aptly URL’d http://lazenby.tumblr.com (depicted below).

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“@Postmeaning” by David Knoebel (part 2 of 2)

Open “@Postmeaning” by David Knoebel (part 2 of 2)

Note: This is the second in a series of 2 postings on “Postmeaning.” Here’s a link to the first entry.

…stmeaning” also via Twitter, starting on June 11, 2011, providing a snippet of the 100 word text and a link to the note or audio file in the Facebook page. An interesting detail about the Twitter via Facebook publication is that it cuts the 100-word posting down to a aize Twitter could manage, including making room for the shortened link and ellipsis. This creates a secondary cut, one that isn’t designed by Knoebel, which potentially creates a new textual iteration which could be interpreted differently from the original. Perhaps this accounts for the shift to shorter entries on July 21, which creates a direct concordance between the Facebook and Twitter texts, while at the same time allowing them to develop different audiences by eliminating the link to the Facebook Page.

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“@Postmeaning” by David Knoebel (part 1 of 2)

Open “Postmeaning” by David Knoebel (part 1 of 2)

ose poem is published serially through a Facebook page which gathers all of its postings in its timeline since it began on February 27, 2011. The writing is surreal at times, mixing topics and language in ways that are grammatical but obeying an almost dreamlike logic, like Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. Since its launching, every single one of its daily (or almost-daily) postings begins an ends with an incomplete sentence and even word, evoking a sense that it is part of a larger thought or text, yet there is no grammatical connection between any entry and the ones before or after.

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“217 Views of the Tokaido Line” by Will Luers

Screenc apture from “217 Views of the Tokaido Line” by Will Luers. White background with a set of three pictures. Text: "his life now / a stationary shop / pilgrims".
Open “217 Views of the Tokaido Line” by Will Luers

This mesmerizing work of observational poetry juxtaposes a generative haiku with a split-screen 6 minute looping video composed of short clips captured along the Tokaido line. Luers’ statement explains the concept in detail in the “About” page.

With our small cameras, smartphones and apps we document our travels. We capture and collect “haiku” moments, tokens of time and space, just as we always have, whether with pen and paper or the bulky camcorder. But with digital technology, we now store these moments as files in searchable databases. How do we use them? Do we try to find the narratives in the fragments or hunt for the suprising incongruities? Perhaps we only care about the isolated moment,the singular shot or sequence, which we “share” as soon as it has rendered. However we narrate experience, our devices and their databases remind us that there are always moments lost in any narrative retelling, always a different path through the data.

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“Google Poetics” by Sampsa Nuotio and Raisa Omaheimo

Screen capture of "Google Poetics by Sampsa Nuotio and Raisa Omaheimo. Google Search's autocomplete feature provides search suggestions that are oddly poetic. Text: "(Autocomplete options for the phrase 'I need to') / ...lose weight / ...know / ...make money / ...lose weight fast"
Open “Google Poetics” by Sampsa Nuotio and Raisa Omaheimo

This found poem generator has been hiding in plain sight since October 16, 2010, since it is built into most of our Web browsers and in the Google main page. It is the Google Autocomplete feature (formerly a Google Labs feature called Google Suggest), which uses one of the largest crowd-sourced data sets in Internet history— Google searches— to suggest search strings to users as they type into their search windows. Nuotio and Omaheimo explain how we can find poetry in this space:

Google Poetics is born when Google autocomplete suggestions are viewed as poems.

Google’s algorithm offers searches after just a few keystrokes when typing in the search box, in an attempt to predict what the user wants to type. The combination of these suggestions can be funny, absurd, dadaistic – and sometimes even deeply moving.

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“10 Print ebooks” by Mark Sample

Screen captures from "10 Print ebooks" by Mark Sample. Two small blocks of text in a white background. Text from box number one: "This was not interested in. Could easily be removed from years / afterward, purposeful designer" Text from box number two: "The value of purposeless play on computers. Bounded and the / player's in Asteroids can turn and fire in many first person games".
Open “10 Print ebooks” by Mark Sample

This Twitter bot generates tweets using two data sets: the text of the MIT Press book 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 and any tweets with the #10print hashtag. The generator uses a Markov chain process to analyze a text and determine the probability of any word following another to generate a new string of words that resembles the original and publishes it on Twitter. Here are some examples:

Screen capture from "10 Print ebooks" by Mark Sample. Five small blocks of text in a white background. Text from box number one: "The shape of the original. Possible to dictate the twisted line up / in 1999 by the supposed game rationality of the game aesthetics today." Text from Box number two: "Only recently have the meanings of random numbers". Text from box number three: "One Hundred Thousand Billion Poems, Strachey is dismissive of / his writing, lectures,  and classes". Text from Box number four: "Instead, The Maze War is poorly for studying telephone / book". Text from Box number five: "Once The original".

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