From reader to writer of unlimited, unpredictable stories

Rain Hui

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Imagine transforming yourself from a mere book-lover into a prolific writer with the sound of your voice... Your ideas and language can be used to generate unlimited and unpredictable creative literature through eleven machines at the Writing Machine Collective, on now until 7 August at 1a Space, Cattle Depot Artist Village, To Kwa Wan, Kowloon.

 

This first Writing Machine Collective exhibition in Hong Kong showcases the works of new media artists from CityU's School of Creative Media (SCM). The Curator is SCM Assistant Professor Ms Linda Lai and the exhibition is co-presented by 1a space, with financial support from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council  and technical support from Videotage and the SCM.

 

"My work is romantic," observed Kirque Leung, Programme Co-coordinator (Education) and creator of 'Sound of the Rain' with fellow artist, Maggie Chan. "The concept of our piece stems from a French poem, Il pleut, by Guillaume Apollinaire. The imagery of the poetry is raindrops and that inspired the idea for our machine," Kirque said. The operation of their machine is not complicated. Just shout out your feeling towards a microphone, and, after the writing machine's translation, unpredictable words fall like raindrops on the screen, creating the scene of a shower of words. "The raindrops fall at different rates depending on the amplitude and pitch of the input sound, therefore, even the creator cannot foretell how the resulting scene will look," Maggie explained.

 

Another writing machine, 'Ideas Generator – Childgulations' was created by SCM students Marvin Hui, Catherine Tai and Jeff Ng, based on the concept of automatic writing. The machine is divided into three parts: the first part represents "childhood";

the second part represents "law and regulation"; while the third part represents "comment". Once you provide the input, the three parts will generate output from the computer database. "We do not only focus on the output, the most important thing should be the special process and the unique experience. The input initiates the computer's brainstorming," Catherine added.

 

Inducing innovation in literature


The SCM student artists shared their experience during an Artists Talk on 24 July in 1a Space. "We are planning to develop a website in where people can add their own ideas into the message code," Mr Keith Lam, the exhibition's Art Director and SCM Instructor, revealed during the Talk. "We hope to collect poems from people of different backgrounds and to induce more innovation in literature." From the audience, one writer from Shanghai later commented, "I have been in Hong Kong for two years and gained a lot from the culture, which is very different from traditional Chinese culture. Here, there is a mix of Chinese and western culture. Hong Kong students are better educated to be creative and your ideas for writing machines really impress me."

 

Are you curious about these innovative writing machines? Help create new literature using the digital platform! Everyone is invited to join Ms Linda Lai's talk, "What is Writing Machine: Hyper and cyber textuality" on 7 August. For further information, see http://sweb.cityu.edu.hk/smkeith/WritingMachine.

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