Darius Kazemi

Darius Kazemi is an internet artist under the moniker Tiny Subversions. His best known works are the Random Shopper (a program that bought him random stuff from Amazon each month) and Content, Forever (a tool to generate rambling thinkpieces of arbitrary length). He has a small army of Twitter and Tumblr bots that he builds because they make him laugh. He founded NaNoGenMo, where participants spend a month writing algorithms to generate 50,000 word novels, and Bot Summit, a yearly gathering of people who make art bots. He cofounded Feel Train, a creative technology cooperative.

Workshop: Intro to Twitter Bots


Why spend a day building an autonomous entity that lives on a computer and communicates exclusively through social media? Why not! Bots can make art, curate museum collections, write poetry, tell jokes, and befuddle onlookers. As a bonus, their intrinsic constraints make them a great introduction to creative coding.

In this workshop you'll design and program a Twitter bot. You'll learn about historical antecedents to the Twitter bot, what the current bot landscape is like, and what the Twitter API lets us do. You'll learn about a whole suite of available tools and work with the instructor to pick the right one for your bot idea. And you'll do all this using Node.js, a server-side version of the JavaScript language that we all know and (presumably) love.

SKILL LEVEL: Intro / Intermediate
It will be helpful, but not required, to have a familiarity with code (especially JavaScript, not necessarily NodeJS).

• Intro to the wide world of Twitter bots
• Intro to basic tools: Twitter API, markov processes, RiTa, node-canvas, Tracery, Corpora Project
• How to scope a day-long project
• Time to make bots
• Building a home for our bot (deployment!)

• A laptop computer running Mac OSX, Linux, or Windows
• A text editor that you're comfortable using to write code in.
     If you don't have one, a good starter editor is Sublime Text (free trial version is fine)
• Please install a recent version of Node.js. Go here and select the installer for your platform.
     (If you're on Linux, it's best to install from source)
• If you already have Node.js installed make sure you're on at least 4.x.x+.
     If you need multiple versions of Node.js installed at the same time, try a tool like NVM

Session: How to Coax Soul from a Machine

As artists working with computers, how do we produce work that feels soulful in the musical sense? In an attempt to answer this question we'll take a look at jazz improvisers, hip hop producers, information theory, and an obscure turn-of-the-20th-century American philosopher named Ella Lyman Cabot.