phenomenon Is this the glass wall

Everest Pipkin (2015)

phenomenon Is this the glass wall is a computer program for generating endless stage-plays, developed by Everest Pipkin. It utilizes the thousands of copyright-free books on Project Gutenberg as source material, restructuring that text with techniques like grammar control, cut-ups algorithms, and sentiment analysis.


Likely ‘subjects’ are identified and given stage-directions, as well as language to speak. Over time, these subjects (or actors) may develop personalities- words and phrases they learn to repeat and prefer. ‘scenery’-like language is also identified and used as stage-description, as well as directions regarding sound and lighting. Included in the play generator are small abstract illustrations of where actors are in the current play-space; ‘blocking’, if you will.

Fundamentally, phenomenon Is this the glass wall is a recurrent theatrical space, with persistent actors and scenery and cohesive threads of plot. These stage-spaces are meant to construct small, invisible worlds to serve as platform to the language that comes out of them.



Here, the visitor is cast as a character (THE VISITOR); the terminal becomes a black box; the visitor may leave but THE VISITOR remains in action, entering STAGE LEFT; a road intersection of few moments; Sunday appears.

Intended for installation or long-term interaction, phenomenon Is this the glass wall exists dually, both in physical gallery space (printing itself on a scrolling receipt printer as it runs) and online as a website. Work was prototyped in node.js, but completed in browser-based javascript.



Originally developed over 2 weeks at the summer School for Poetic Computation with the support of a microgrant from the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier (FRFAF). Shown in Austin, TX, ‘The Only Knowledge Worth Possessing’, GrayDuck Gallery, 2015. Photographs by Brian Fitzsimmons, courtesy of The Contemporary Austin.

Everest Pipkin makes drawings on paper, in language, and collaboratively with machines. Here is a series of symbols that looks like a field of flowers. ↾⌠❦❧❀〳ノ〳.