Termpapers, 2004
I set out on this project with the goal of writing a computer program to generate my term paper my graduate studies seminar this fall. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write about Keith Tyson as one of the artists for my paper, and he has spent many years working with various systms he has built to automate various parts of the creative process, including his Artmachine from the 90s, which is the first one I really fell in love with–it generated detailed descriptions of works of art that he would then go and make. It seemed like an attractive parallel gesture to write a program to write my paper about him. Developing this project additionally let me indulge my interests in natural language processing and natural language generation. I wanted to investigate text generation programs as (1) labor saving device and (2) an analagous process to his artmaking machines. I chose Matthew Barney and Natalie Jermemijenko, the two other artists I am most interested in at the moment to feature as the 2nd and 3rd points of my paper.

I set out to simultaneously pursue the development of two papers. One, the paper that became dadengine termpaper (the programmed paper), and the paper that became robertengine termpaper (the hand generated paper). Along the way I also picked up the travesty termpaper, another computer generated paper of slightly different quality and method than the dadaengine termpaper.

I wanted to specify the minimal structure necessary to produce a legible paper. I pursued the development of the computer generated and robert generated papers simultaneously, and any effort that I put into structuring the computer generated paper could be recycled into structure for the robertengine termpaper. The computer generated termpaper was not going to have any structure that I didn’t put there. I suspect that it can’t generate as reasoned, rational argument. (Of course, you may wonder if I could either…) I’m not sure whether it really worked to recycle structure for the robertengine termpaper. This was a totally backwards way to write an essay.

I came in with an open mind, trying sincerely to make the computer version work. Starting with the postmodernism generator, I stripped out references that were irrelevant or false, and began to load it up with actual information from the research that I had done. I’ve turned in the travesty termpaper under my real name, and the robertengine termpaper under a pseudonym to fulfill the requirement for the class.

The results follow:

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