Leonardo, Volume 33, Issue 5 | Leonardo/ISAST

Leonardo, Volume 33, Issue 5

October 2000

Contents

Director's Statement

Digital Salon Essays

  • CollageMachine: An Interactive Agent of Web Recombination
    Get at MIT Press

    CollageMachine builds interactive collages from the Web. First you choose a direction. Then CollageMachine will take you surfing out across the Internet as far as it can reach. It builds a collage from the most interesting media it can find for you. You don't have to click through links. You rearrange the collage to refine your exploration.

    CollageMachine is an agent of recombination. Aesthetics of musical composition and conceptual detournement underlie its development. The composer John Cage and Dada artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst used structured chance procedures to create aesthetic assemblages. These works create new meaning by recontextualizing found objects. Instead of functioning as a single visual work, CollageMachine embodies the process of collage making.

    CollageMachine [1] deconstructs Web sites and re-presents them in collage form. The program crawls the Web, downloading sites. It breaks each page down into media elements—images and texts. Over time, these elements stream into a collage. Point, click, drag, and drop to rearrange the media. How you organize the elements shows CollageMachine what you're interested in. You can teach it to bring media of interest to you. On the basis of your interactions, CollageMachine reasons about your interests; the evolving model informs ongoing choices of selection and placement. CollageMachine has been developed through a process of freely combining disciplines according to the principles of “interface ecology.”

Special Section: The Art of the Gene

Digital Salon Catalog

Artists' Statements