A Tree With Managers and Jittery Boats

An experiment in interfaces for generative text from Jason Nelson (whom you may better know as the creator of i made this. you play this. we are enemies and game, game, game and again game).

The snippets of text are arranged in hierarchical menus, and seem to cohere both vertically (from top to bottom within the same level of hierarchy) and horizontally (from left to right, as you drill down deeper into the hierarchy). I would be interested to hear from Jason how the snippets were composed, and what his methodology was for arranging them.

I’m struck by the similarities between this piece and Nick Montfort’s ppg256 series. While Montfort and Nelson clearly have different stylistic aims, both are using computers to define procedures for combining snippets of text. The procedure in A Tree With Managers… relies more heavily on interactivity than the procedure in ppg256, but the underlying data structures, and the kinds of choices that can be made, are analogous.

(One method of more directly comparing the output of the two procedures might be to transcribe the snippets in A Tree With Managers…, along with their relationships, then create a program to randomly traverse them. Maybe a weekend project?)

(via, where you can also find comments and discussion)

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