Digital Life: Read and Write like a Machine with Karina Zavidova

A text generator workshop
1, 8, 15, 22 June, 2021
iii workspace, The Hague
18:00 – 20:00
Fee: €30 ex. VAT
Tickets here

Language: English
Suitable for: Anyone interested in language, text generators, digital culture, text credibility
Requirements: Participants need to bring their own laptops. No previous coding experience needed.

From experimental poetry to Twitter bots, this workshop looks at how humans and machines read and write together.

We will first look at contemporary and historical references to see what techniques, tools and fields text generators are being used in, before creating our own generated texts.

The practical goal of this workshop is to produce a generated text that emulates the specific language of a source text (each participant chooses their source). We will be using Markovify, a Markov chain generator that was initially developed at BuzzFeed to write captions.

This exercise focuses on understanding how the credibility of sources is constructed through the use of a specific vocabulary and the tone of the text. Emulating a variety of voices, we will look at text generators as tools of deception. At the same time, we will use this exercise to take a critical look at how existing languages (International Art English, legalese etc) communicate belonging to the specific environment, reproducing this environment by the means of language.

At the end of the workshop, texts generated by the participants will be assembled into a zine, which can be taken home.

About the Facilitator:

Karina Zavidova is a graphic designer, writer, and researcher. Intrigued by the ephemeral web tokens and vagueness, she is particularly interested in working with subjects and fields which are considered uncreative. She recently obtained her MA in Design from the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam.

Karina is the author of “Artificial Intelligence Never Has A Headache”, a digital publication, “Untitled, practice within the limitations of citizenship (with a smile)” and the text generator “Rijksify” which she made with Markovify. This generator creates caption texts for fictional artworks based on caption texts of artworks exhibited at the Rijksakademie open day in 2018.

Images: Above: ¨One Hundred Thousand Billion Poems¨ by Raymond Queneau, a generative poetry book where the lines are cut, so the reader can create an immense number of combinations, Below: ¨Untitled, practice within the limitations of citizenship (with a smile)¨ by Karina Zavidova

Read and Write like a Machine is presented by iii with financial support from Creative Industries Fund NL and The Municipality of The Hague.