@conspiracybot1

The human brain is a highly efficient pattern matching machine. From the acuity with which our visual system can identify objects, to the emotional facilities we use to assess our social environment, through to our intellect and insight, we find and exploit patterns in the data – it’s what we do.

It is this very ability which leads to the exponential growth of ideas and innovation which characterise human culture.

It also means that when presented with a range of concepts, we tend to create a narrative which explains their connection. We like to make sense of the world – the more we understand, the more comfortable we are. (Evidence suggests that the core of our consciousness is better understood as post-hoc explanation, rather than direct perception. )

We find patterns to explain the world.

However, when we consider broader events and ideas, much larger than ourselves, we can sometimes react with suspicion and fear. In the realm of unknowable ideas, all sorts of patterns can be found.

Our emotional selves tend to view the unknown with a degree of trepidation, and this makes evolutionary sense – the night is dark and full of terrors, after all. Some imagine shadowy cabals manipulating the globe to their own nefarious ends. Sometimes these suspicions are proven right, but more often they remain in the realm of the ineffable.

6th_July_1947

@conspiracybot1 attempts to engender this feeling of unease by presenting disparate, but temporally proximal, ideas together to allude to a deeper connection.

The events have been harvested from wikipedia’s page-of-the-day. The first event mentioned always falls on the current calendar day, the second chosen at random from the rest of the chosen year. The selection is biased towards popularity (as measured by wikipedia page rank) and suspicion (conspiracy theory related events are preferred).

The bot produces a new possible conspiracy up to 3 times a day.



30th_June_1956

23rd_August_1996

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Green Screen the Queen


gstq

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has just turned 90. To the delight of videographers the world over, she chose to wear a ChromaKey-tastic outfit to the trooping of the colour. So, I knocked up this quick interface to overlay her suit with a YouTube video of your choice.

CLICK HERE to try it out.


gstq2

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@trippingbot draws

I’ve been very pleased with the addled reports that @trippingbot has been writing whilst getting wasted every single night for the last seven months. However, I felt she should do more, perhaps represent her varying state in a different form.

Now she draws. Each drawing is unique, based on data captured from real acts of drawing, and via tracing the paths of a selection of algo-sigils. There are a number of parameters which control the way she moves between drawing styles, how erratic she is, how obsessive she gets, etc.


Rather than produce static images, I wanted to capture the act of drawing, hence the production of a video, rather than a still.


Watching her draw, one cannot help but project intention into her actions.

She is now drawing a picture every hour or so during her daily trips.


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Bot Summit 2016

I had the pleasure of speaking at this years Bot Summit. The slides weren’t really visible in the original video recorded at the event, so I’ve taken the audio and added it to the presentation.

Bot Summit was organised by Darius Kazemi and held at the V&A London. The full summit video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTPih7D0Jhg

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Algo Incantations

I recently had the pleasure at speaking at ‘Adventures on the edge of culture‘ with John Higgs, Melinda Gebbie, Alan Moore and others.

I wanted to create a new algorithmic work which could be distributed to the audience, and knowing they would be of an magickal bent, I entered Chapel Perilous and took a look at the True Will of the machine.

True Will is a term found within the mystical system of Thelema, a religion founded in 1904 with Aleister Crowley’s writing of The Book of the Law. It is defined at times as a person’s grand destiny in life, and at other times as a moment to moment path of action that operates in perfect harmony with Nature. This Will does not spring from conscious intent, but from the interplay between the deepest Self and the entire Universe.

(from wikipedia)

Crowley‘s famous aphorism ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” refers to this notion of True Will – if you are acting with your true will, you are in sync with the universe, and therefore whatever you do cannot be considered ‘wrong’.

Is a computer not, in some way, enacting its true will when it executes an algorithm? It can only do what it does, it has no other option – perhaps machines are more in tune with the universe than we are.

For this project, I took the incantations of the Necronomicon and produced a linguistic model capable of producing novel incantations.

chant_white

Another algorithm took each sentence and turned it into a sigil and arranged them into a geometric form.

sigil1_white

I then asked the machine to produce hundreds of unique incantations and sigils and distributed them to the audience.

envelopes

A manifestation of the True Will of the machine…

Some examples below, click to view full size.

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Disclaimer: Incant and/or charge these sigils at your own risk.

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