What's That An Author?

Fall 2016

A publication and installation exploring machine learning and authorship through Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

For the content of the books I spliced together the story of Leonia, excerpts from Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, and public domain images from the NYPL. They are printed on found-paper left behind at printers and in recycling bins across campus. (Thanks to Kristian for letting me steal from his collection). This creates a blurred line between what content “belongs” to the book and what is inherited from the material on which is it printed. The final output involves many authors, most unaware they had contributed at all.


To extend the idea of generated or author-agnostic content, I trained a recurrent neural network on a corpus of Calvino’s writing. The output was printed with an Arduino-controlled receipt printer as well as displayed as a tiled poster.