alchan-Looking Outwards 01

Loren Schmidt and Katie Rose Pipkin’s (volume 1) is an example of generative art I find particularly intriguing. is a procedurally generated series of texts, visualizations, and small interactive pieces that form an imaginary publication from an imaginary city. Each section of the publication is created by a different set of algorithms drawing from different source material. To make the project, which began as part of “National Novel Generation Month” but ended up extending beyond that, Schmidt and Rose used a combination of their own code and algorithms created by others, working in JavaScript, HTML5 canvas, and some Ruby.

I was drawn to the project partly because of its combination of both generated text and generated art, as well as its feel—even though the text is sometimes incoherent, the many different topics and sections make it seem more personal than a single piece of generated text. It’s interesting to think about where either of those particular aspects could go in future projects, whether they might lead to completely generated books (with text/ image combinations) or explorations of how something might feel more “human-made” than “computer-generated.” vol. 1 by Katie Rose Pipkin and Loren Schmidt (

Additional information about the work: an interview with Pipkin and Schmidt & a description from the Electronic Literature Knowledge Base.

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