@the_ephemerides

Having come towards the end of week 2, it’s been interesting to see what twitterbots have been highlighted by the other course participants. Forgetting the bots that simply provide alerts on new events or information for now, it’s evident there’s a real richness in some of them.

My own particular favourite is @the_ephemerides. Harking back to the recommended blog reading on bots I’ve already touched on in a previous post, I think this twitter bot certainly is an excellent example of creating:

“something that is actually greater than the sum of its parts”.

Here’s an example:

The creator of the bot provided some useful background on the development of the bot:

“One of the affordances of generative text in general is satire and humor, and I have made my share of satirical and humorous (and borderline mean-spirited) bots. In making the Ephemerides, I was trying to expand my aesthetic range a little bit, to make something a bit more lyrical and evocative. The poetry is made by remixing two 19th-century texts, one on astrology and the other on oceanography, which combined have the feeling (or are intended to have the feeling) of otherworldly poems about the exotic icy landscapes of the solar system.”  (Source, 30 September 2017)

Having read through chapter 6 of Selwyn (Selwyn, N. (2011), Education and Technology: key issues and debates.), there’s a discussion about the art and science of teaching, and the role that technologies play within this. While not directly relevant, these discussions did get me thinking about the role of technology and ‘art’, particularly in light of these bots.

In my opinion, bots like these allow us to explore new areas beyond previous thresholds, simply due to the scale and reach technology like this allows. In the example above, technology has been already used to create the various pieces (camera’s/telescopes for the photos, and the pencil to record the written word), and now the technology is providing us with the opportunity to mesh these in weird and wonderful ways. If art is ultimately about “producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power” (Source, 30 September 2017) then surely this ticks the box?