Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Kinetic Sculpture From Prose

A computer peripheral device that creates a kinetic sculpture representation of any writing.
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Write a parapgraph in your language of choice and instead of the output being printed words on paper, you get a kinetic sculpture that represents whatever you've written. It would use a soft plastic, like one of those computer-driven prototype part making machines--a three dimensional representation of whatever you've drawn, except that instead of starting with a drawing, it would have a library of 3-d images of whatever nouns occur in the writing. You could adjust the settings to emphasize certain styles, relationships, etc. The machine would mark the pieces so you could quickly snap it together. If soft plastic is objectionable, then pack the hopper with tofu or Spam and eat the sculpture after a few days. Or start with a soft wood and burn the resulting sculpture if you want.

Fill your house with the 3-D interpretations of your writing! Become a better (or at least different) writer too, as each sculpture's appearance and appeal feeds back into your writing process.

entremanure, Jan 22 2002


       I had to read this idea twice before I decided I liked it. The key for me was that the artist-to-be got to create his/her own relationships.   

       I'd like to point out that if I can tweak the imagery, do I really need the prose? Why not just let me create the sculpture from scratch?
phoenix, Jan 22 2002

       Monsieur Entremaneur, it looks like poetry, it feels like poetry. It smells like poetry. I may understand it in the morning. Bon Nuit
po, Jan 22 2002

       My point was that people would modify the prose to produce an aesthetically pleasing sculpture. Trading the beauty of the written word for the beauty of the physical construct. And if that's the case, what is the point? Crappy poetry and beautiful sculpture or beautiful poetry and crappy sculpture.
phoenix, Jan 22 2002

       I've been chewing on this, and I just can't figure it out. How does the text map to the sculpture? What lexical components are mapped? Whole sentences, words, some kind of parsed output? The idea states "nouns" - but isn't that a bit limited?

I need examples and/or a better explanation.
quarterbaker, Jan 22 2002

       Ah yes, well--parsing is a good starting point. Imagine the hiliarity and hijinks when engineers are herded together and told that they will change the way they have been building things, that from now on, they will work with people who will feed them 'requirements' statements that describe 'what' a thing must do, and that they, the engineers, will then respond with a rough design of 'how' the thing is to do the 'what'. And so on, back and forth, hopefully in an inward spiral until at last, there it is--a complete and fully designed whatever. Ha! Well, maybe someday. Engineers don't like to work that way. So what if you gave the 'what' to software that emulates the design process of an engineer, and therefore provides the 'how', but without the subsequent feedback loop. This means that instead of an engineered product, you get kinetic sculpture. It moves, things are connected, Rube Goldberg comes to mind, and it is fun to look at. But it's useless because the intent was not really to engineer something as it was to have some fun with translating 'requirement statements', or less formally, 'any statement' into some sort of physical representation. Yes, sentence diagramming and parsing would be part of that. Some sort of speech recognition aspect would be needed. Knowing full well ahead of time that the current state of such programs is still far short of real intelligence, it would be fun to see what whimsical and weird things the artificial intelligence would do with human writing. I was partially inspired by link posted by someone here that showed the result of a language translation program (Spanish to English) when applied to jokes. I read most of them--fun!   

       Something like this might start out as pure whimsy and then something might emerge as weird structures reappear in some sort of pattern. Given the differences that emerge among human writers using the same language it would be hard to predict what the program would come up with.   

       So, yeah, the programmer would want to identify all the parts of speech and their relationships in each sentence, the relationships among sentences, the main point of the 'burst' of writing, if there is one discernable, any double meanings, subtext, cultural references, colloquialisms, etc. There would be some arbitrary rules governing what shapes are selected and how they are connected. The writer could tweak these parameters by, for example, giving more weight to subtext and less to the apparent main point, and so on.
entremanure, Jan 23 2002

       Am I the only one who wonders what would happen if you fed this machine the complete works of William Burroughs?
sirrobin, Jan 23 2002

       Better yet, the complete works of George Orwell.
NeverDie, Jan 27 2002

       poetry of M.C. Escher or the drum playing of James Joyce
Protector of Mankind, Mar 16 2002

       I don't believe that M C Escher wrote poetry - how about Lewis Carroll instead.
po, Mar 16 2002

       Soft, melting, meaningless words. Sounds like a mission statement.
StarChaser, Mar 17 2002


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