Exquisite_Code, E:vent Gallery, Bethnal Green, London, Feb. 15-19th and Launch party Feb. 20th

Notes for Participants

The beginnings of exquisite_code, as devised by Brendan and Sabrina, are detailed here: http://exquisite-code.com/?action=page&url=history

The London project is an extreme version which has come about as a result of conversations between Brendan, Jonathan, and Leif at Breakthrough Berlin in June 2009, and in subsequent emails between Brendan, Jonathan and Sabrina.

The writing part of the project will run 10am-6pm daily, starting on Monday 15th Feb. and finishing on Friday 19th Feb. at E:vent Gallery. The Launch performances will take place 7.30pm - 11.30pm on Sat. 20th Feb. in the upper space of the Gallery building.

A printable map of how to get to the E:vent Gallery is at the foot of this page.

What each writer needs

A laptop for the five days

What we'll be doing

We'll be sitting around a table in a windowless gallery space with our laptops connected via an ethernet hub to the edit-machine, which is, in turn, connected to various forms of real-time display. On Day One the Writers will begin the project by writing a one line prompt. The edit-software will then be applied to the 8 prompts submitted and 1 prompt will be selected. Writers will then write in response to that prompt, at first in a session lasting 6 minutes. After this session, the edit software will be applied again to the 8 submitted pieces of writing and a text chunk selected/generated. This text chunk is displayed and writers will then create a prompt in response to that text chunk. The edit software will be applied again to the 8 prompts, and 1 prompt will be selected. Writers will then write in response to the prompt, again in a session of 6 minutes, unless writers decide to change the length of the session through agreement or belligerence. This process carries on throughout each day for 8 hours. The 8 hours will also include scheduled edit-software re-writes to be performed by some of the writers. These might be scheduled in say, 15 minute sessions 4 times a day.

The basic text-generation cycle is schematized here:

The selected text will be deposited in a 'text dump'. From this dump, and including the edit-software code and selected prompts, the life-novel will be made. This will be sent to a formatted template and from this the book will be printed within 24 hours using Print-on-Demand technology. Its hoped that we will have some fifty copies of the book for the Launch on Saturday the 20th Feb.

the edit-software

Brendan has written algorithms in Python for editing the text produced after each session. The various routines can be called. Writers can confer to call a specific routine. The default routine is the Classic Random Select.

1. The Classic Random Select. Modified to have some kind of fair-queuing or round-robin selection.

2. Burroughs Columnar Cut-up. Texts are justified to x-amount of columns (typewriter width) and chopped horizontally into thirds. These chunks are randomly realigned. [see Ref. below]. Orphaned letter strings will be killed off.

3. Grammatic Convolution. Randomly selects one input text as the grammatical structure and tags each word with part-of-speech. Tags the other texts and substitutes the words from the “structure” text with appropriate part-of-speech substitutes from the other “corpus” texts. This would essentially use the random-select process to pick one of the chunks to be the 'structure text'. The other texts would be used as part-of-speech substitution databases. Having a static 'structure text' could also be interesting. We could do several iterations of the same structure, each with different substitutions. An ad nauseam chapter or “Chomsky Variations”.

4. Synonymic/Antonymic Distortion. Randomly replaces words with synonyms or antonyms from the wordnet database.

5. Markovian Gang Chaining. This one takes all of the texts and builds a statistical index based on word order and then spits out words based on probable next words.

Process schematic:


Coffee etc will be on hand next to the space, and a lunch will be given upstairs at E:vent Gallery once a day. This lunch will be prepared and served by Liam. Food, supplies, and Liam's payment will come from some of the subsistence money allocated (ie. from the £25/day per person) - the remainder will be yours.

Oyster 7-day travel cards for Zones 1+2 will be provided on the first day

All payments for flights etc will be made on first day

All writers fees will be made in the week

Further References

'Cut-Up Self Explained' William Burroughs in Burroughs, William S., and Brion Gysin. The Third Mind. New York: Seaver Books, 1978. p34

Art and cybernetics in the supermarket A.A. Moles in Cybernetics, Art and Ideas, Reinhardt, J. ed. New York Graphic Society. Connecticut. 1971. pp 61-72

exquisite_code/explanatory.txt · Last modified: 2010/02/15 18:52 by jj
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