ABSTRACT

The Readers Project is an aesthetically oriented system of software entities designed to explore the culture of human reading. These entities, or “readers,” navigate texts according to specific reading strategies based upon linguistic feature analysis and real-time probability models harvested from search engines. As such, they function as autonomous text generators, writing machines that become visible within and beyond the typographic dimension of the texts on which they operate. Thus far the authors have deployed the system in a number of interactive art installations at which audience members can view the aggregate behavior of the readers on a large screen display and also subscribe, via mobile device, to individual reader outputs. As the structures on which these readers operate are culturally and aesthetically implicated, they shed critical light on a range of institutional practices - particularly those of reading and writing - and explore what it means to engage with the literary in digital media.

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