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Perpetual Storytelling Apparatus Turns Literature Into Patent Drawings

by Lambert Varias
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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.

perpetual_storytelling_apparatus_2

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.

perpetual_storytelling_apparatus

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]

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