[ISEA2020] Panel: Roderick Coover, Nick Montfort & Scott Rettberg — Human Collaboration and Machine Generation Across Media

Panel Statement

Keywords: Generative art, machine voices, code, combination, collaboration

Our panel explores machinic sense and sensibility through a discussion of our joint work on generated media systems. The three of us have been collaborating in various ways for the past 15 years; We all three worked together to create the combinatorial video artwork Three Rails Live in 2013. We will discuss how we have worked together to develop simple but culturally meaningful systems that generate combinations of language, images, and sound. Rather than trying to produce systems that mimic human intelligence or pass as human, we have created systems that perform the basic functions that computers can do well: Manipulating symbols and drawing from distributions. In doing so, we have relied on each other’s human sentience to collaboratively develop voices and visions that are overtly machinic, but which work to exchange and arrange human visual and textual elements.

  • Roderick Coover is the creator of interactive, experimental and emergent cinema, virtual reality and digital arts that are internationally exhibited, and his publications include, among others, the books The Digital Imaginary: Literature And Cinema Of The Database and, with Thomas Bartscherer, Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology In The Humanities And Arts. He is Professor of Film and Media Arts at Temple University, Philadelphia, USA, and he lives in the USA and France. unknownterritories.org
  • Nick Montfort‘s computer-generated books include #!, the collaboration 2×6, Autopia, and The Truelist, with Golem forthcoming. Among his digital projects are the collaborations The Deletionist, Sea and Spar Between, and Renderings. He has six books out from the MIT Press, most recently The Future. A second edition of Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities is forthcoming from MIT Press. Montfort is professor of digital media at MIT and lives in New York, USA. He directs a lab/studio called The Trope Tank.
  • Scott Rettberg is professor of digital culture in the department of linguistic, literary, and aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. Rettberg is the author or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature, combinatory poetry, and films including The Unknown, Kind of Blue, Implementation, Frequency, The Catastrophe Trilogy, Three Rails Live, Toxi*City, Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project and others. His creative work has been exhibited both online and at art venues, including the Venice Biennale, Santa Monica Museum in Barcelona, the Inova Gallery, Rom 8, the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, Palazzo dell Arti Napoli, Beall Center, the Slought Foundation, The Krannert Art Museum, and elsewhere.