Collaborative creative writing with computation

Allison Parrish

Posted: 2021-10-18

Sunday, October 24th, 2021 / 11am–5pm
Soft Surplus (Brooklyn, NY)

Register here (free!)

About the workshop

Why computation and creative writing?

Rules, procedures and chance operations have long been methods used by writers to help produce language that is unexpected and uncanny. The practice of computer programming makes it possible to reason about and iterate on these methods, apply them in interesting new ways, and reflect on the procedure itself as an aesthetic object. Importantly, contemporary networked computation invites cooperation between writers, in the form of textual remixes and collaborative corpus building.

What will happen in the workshop?

This workshop provides a hands-on introduction to creative writing with computational tools, with an emphasis on collaboration between workshop participants. The workshop begins with a free-writing exercise to generate a shared textual corpus (for use in the remaining exercises), and ends with the production of an online zine containing work produced during the workshop.

Computational techniques introduced in the workshop include: chance operations, grammar generators, natural language processing, and statistical text generation with artificial intelligence.

What will I need?

No previous programming experience is needed! Participants will work with prewritten (but easily modifiable) code, and I’ll show you everything you need to know to understand how the code works and make changes to suit your own needs.

You’ll need to bring a laptop or tablet device (preferably with a keyboard).

Who’s teaching this?

Allison Parrish is a computer programmer, poet and game designer whose teaching and practice address the unusual phenomena that blossom when language and computers meet. She is an Assistant Arts Professor at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Allison was named “Best Maker of Poetry Bots” by the Village Voice in 2016, and “Compasses,” her zine of computer-generated poems, was awarded an honorary mention in the 2021 Prix Ars Electronica. She is the co-creator of the board game “Rewordable” (Clarkson Potter, 2017) and author of several books, including @Everyword: The Book (Instar, 2015) and Articulations (Counterpath, 2018). Her poetry has appeared recently in BOMB Magazine and Nioques Revue.

This program is made possible by the New York City Artist Corps.

Workshop outline