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Perpetual Storytelling Apparatus Turns Literature Into Patent Drawings

 |  |  |  |  |  |  |  October 21, 2009

We can file this under art, or under why?/why not?: Invented by Julius von Bismarck and Benjamin Maus, the Perpetual Storytelling Apparatus “downloads and parses a part of the text of a recent best-selling book” and then, for some strange reason, peruses the archives of the United States Patent and Trademark Office for drawings that match the essential words in the book.


The machine takes advantage of the fact that patents often refer to other (or earlier) patents to connect the words that it got from the book. I’m not 100% sure but I think this is how it works: if for example the first two words that the machine got from a book are “fox” and then “dog”, the machine will first look for a patent with a drawing of a fox. But before looking for a drawing of a dog, it looks for a third patent drawing that will connect the fox-patent to the dog-patent. Then it draws the fox, then the connection between the fox and the dog – a patent for a foxdog? – and then the dog.


In essence, it turns a text-based story into a technological history of sorts. Here’s the Perpetual Storytelling Apparatus in action:

Honestly I found it to be a bit boring. Maybe if I knew exactly which “recent best-selling book” it started from I could appreciate the drawings more. Or maybe I should see it live. As it is, I don’t have context, and the drawings make little to no sense to me. Definitely weird though.

[via likecool]