Tech Section

Creative Work
Record Status: 
Description (in English): 

A flat panel presents an ever-scrolling ticker of very short, computer-generated news items. We unquestionably benefit from automation, yet, to put it mildly, mishaps do occur. Imagine a world in which such automated technologies are ubiquitous — but such incidents were routinely cataloged, and only briefly mentioned, as if in a police blotter. In Tech Section, we see all the news that is barely fit to print. Félix Fénéon’s “filler” news items are one inspiration, giving a sense of early 20th Century life in France and written in an oddly engaging style, and including indications of social unrest alongside technological advance. Franz Kafka’s formulaic clerical reports on industrial accidents are another basis. There are also connections to computational projects such as MEXICA by Rafael Pérez y Pérez, a story generator that produces plots in a sophisticated way but also uses simple templates. Perhaps ironically, here the news items that suggest the dangers of computer technology are produced by computer. As visitors learn about incidents that transpired in an imagined world, they may also be prompted to consider how journalists frame and present such events and decide what is newsworthy.

Technical notes: 

Tech Section has both a Web manifestation — with its single page of code licensed as free (libre) software for easy study, modification, and distribution — and a gallery manifestation, in which it is presented running live on a portraint-orientation monitor.

Screen shots: 
A screen full of miniature news items generated by Tech Section
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Record posted by: 
Nick Montfort