Warfare and Conventionality: How avant-garde computer-generated text can be

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Computer generated text has been considered warfare carried out against conventionality and was accordingly tagged “cybernetic Dadaism”, which seems to be obvious given that most computer generated text is nonsensical. However, there are attempts to have the machine generate meaningful text ideally indistinguishable from text by a human. This is where the problem starts. If a machine aims to be as good as a human writer, can it still afford to do what a human writer may aim at: writing like a machine? Wouldn’t any idiosyncratic style – which might in conventionally generated literature be understood as avant-garde – be perceived as a failure of the program? In other words: Can literature be avant-garde (or rather: advanced) in both, its way of production as well as its style? The lecture will discuss the issue with a closer look at Michael Mateas’ and Andrew Stern’s interactive drama Façade.

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Jill Walker Rettberg