Genre: Bot

The bot is an e-lit genre that goes as far back as 1966 with Joseph Weizenbaum’s ELIZA, a chatterbot that engaged users in conversation through text entered and displayed in a computer terminal. This concept informed interactive fiction from the 1980s and has breathed life into video game characters ever since. Poetically, bots are also … Read more

“Real_Time_”1sts!” [or: PanoptiConned Imagery From the Scene]” by Mez Breeze

  This work is inspired by the real-time events triggered by a fatal shooting incident in MIT and a manhunt for suspects allegedly involved in the Boston Marathon bombings as reported through social media, particularly Twitter. (Here’s a link describing the situation as I write this entry, followed by a snapshot of the #Watertown hashtag … Read more

“Every Word I Saved” series by Cristobal Mendoza

This series of installations are poetic visualizations of a personal database, consisting of every word written in the author’s computers for a four year period (2002-2006). The database contains metadata, such as time-stamps for each word, capitalization, and its source. This allowed Mendoza to create software installations that lead us to pay attention to the … Read more

“@tonightiate” “@MassageMcLuhan” by Matt Schneider

These two bots generate short template based sentences and publish them on Twitter every 10 minutes. With them Schneider demonstrates some of the versatility of the same kind of device when applied to different topics. His first bot, “@tonightiate,” uses a relatively simple template that produces an obsessive litany of consumption. The opening constant phrase … Read more

“@DeleuzeGuattari” “Rhiz-o-Mat” and “PoMoBot” by Anonymous

This “bot without organs” tweets quotes on an indeterminate schedule and frequency randomly chosen from Deleuze and Guattari’s writings. The generator occasionally punctuates the quotes with a short phrase in slang like “True dat!” This may not even be a bot, but a human being who tweets the results of a random quote search engine … Read more

“Rapbot” by Darius Kazemi

This poetry generator uses the Wordnik library’s recent rhyming functionality as dataset suitable for creating rhyming couplets in the ’80s freestyle rap tradition. Examining the source code reveals that the generating algorithm method is simple, but it’s nuanced enough to produce grammatical lines in that tradition. Kazemi wrote 57 line templates each of which was … Read more

“Metaphor-a-Minute!” by Darius Kazemi

This Twitter bot generates a metaphor every two minutes (in spite of its name, since Twitter places limits on automated posting), and it is more than sufficient. The constraint provides a little breathing room to consider the metaphor before facing a new one. How does one approach this steady stream of conceptually challenging metaphors? According … Read more

“Gorge” by J.R. Carpenter

  This poem takes an everyday activity, eating, and places in a generative engine that drives it into excess and absurdity. As the lines of this poem unfold, like rapidly served courses in an endless meal, one becomes increasingly aware of the bodily activities involved with ingestion, digestion, emesis, and egestion— frames of reference evoked … Read more

“Tokyo Garage” by Scott Rettberg

As the story goes, when Nick Montfort published “Taroko Gorge” in his website in early 2009, his longtime friend and creative collaborator Scott Rettberg decided he would take the structure of the work and invert it, so he changed the dataset for the variables, modified the formatting of the page, crossed out Nick Montfort’s name, … Read more

“4 Square” by Jody Zellen

This free app art poem captures Zellen’s approach wonderfully. Each of the four squares respond to touch and can be tapped to change within each category or dragged to reposition with the others. Each category is representative of the materials she traditionally works with: color, drawings, art based on tracings of newspaper and other materials, … Read more