Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Date with Data

Today I visited some of the MIT museum's current installations. I had come to see the results of Virtualpolitik pal Nick Montfort's "code jam" on the theme of "Processing Time." The winner was Stillness Clock, Motion Clock, which consisted of two digitally constructed clock faces side-by-side, which reflected segments of the viewer's image in proportion to how still or how active that spectator was.

Montfort also showed me the work of Judith Donath's Sociable Media Group, which was grouped under the title "Connections," as it explored themes of surveillance and data mining and the bandwidths generated by a machine readable world. For more about her piece Metropathologies, see this interview with Donath.

Montfort has also been busy with Perl Poetry Generators, and we had an interesting conversation about what could be learned about writing by creating such rule-based programs for generating text and by conversely thinking about creating works that could be read by machines. For my take on poetry generators, see the seventh chapter of the Virtualpolitik book and this paper from the Hypertext 2007 conference.

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