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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).
The result is an intriguing way to read Latour— piecemeal and out of context— which focuses attention on the poetic function of his language as well as on his ideas as they cling to these short (no more than 140 character) sentences. This bot also serves as cut-up, assembled over time, which frees Latour’s voice from the constraints placed by the logic of the monograph. Or as Burroughs proclaimed, “Cut the word lines and you will hear their voices.”
Featured in Genre: Bot