Twitter writes Hamlet

Jun 11

They say anything can come out of randomness. Let’s see:

“If you put 100 monkeys with typewriters in a room long enough, eventually you’ll get Hamlet.”

This is the actual experiment, using a real-time feed of Twitter as the proverbial room of monkeys.

For each word in Hamlet, we wait until somebody tweets it. Then we do the same with the next word, et cætera until the end of the play.

Read more here:

Conus Textilus

Sep 01

Cellular Automaton

I’ve been playing with cellular automata, and at some point it got mixed with Twitter. The result is @ConusTextilus, my latest Twitter account. The name comes from the natural pattern found on a shell called Conus Textilus:

Conus Textilus

I’ll select the product of Cellular Automaton and post it on Twitter, along with the decimal rule used to produce it.

The hardest part was to find 2 symbols of sufficient contrast that will render with the exact same width on Twitter web and mobile. Too often the ascii art breaks down on Twitter because of such rendering issues. I also made it space-less, because on the web multiple spaces are rendered as one. After some trials, i selected ░ for white and ▒ for black. The best rendering is on Twitter web, detailed view:

If you have any recommandation for a better rendering, I’m all ears..

Follow @ConusTextilus !

001 | SR + EP

Jun 07

001 | SR + EP from Sebastien Rien on Vimeo.

Ordinateur Central

Dec 24

Just coming back from a residence in France (Le Vigan, coproduction OUDEIS) where I worked on a performance with the PHASE3 team. The project was called “Sinon…”.
See the residence blog for more:

Photo: Gaspard – OUDEIS

Here is the plot: “Sinon” means “otherwise”, “or else”. It’s about “what will happen if I don’t [do something]“. We don’t know so we produce, we prey, we consume, … endlessly, too afraid of what would happen if we stop doing it. We translated this concept into a techno-mystical religion assisted by a super computer (Ordinateur Central). The story says that this mythic computer has been built by a team of high level scientists, then took to an unknown location on earth. The team lost contact for mysterious reasons, leaving the computer running and the PHASE3 team with a connexion to it.

Ordinateur Central (OC) job is to optimize the real world. It analyses and produce reports and warnings. During the performance, all actions happen because the OC told to. Loud alarms would turn on sometimes, urging the operators to stop it. We don’t understand why we have to do things, but we do it since we highly trust the output of the super computer.

So I had to build this computer (somehow). I worked a long time on it and after the show, I could not let it go. I wanted to make it alive and give it a face on the internet. is the web window to Ordinateur Central. There you can see what this super machine is up to. I worked the visuals from a decomposition of traditional “megatron” faces into simpler, more abstract shapes:

It is all rendered without a single image, pure HTML/CSS. (It is possible that it won’t work in IE. OC seems to hate this software…) will evolve, who knows what OC is up to….


Sep 15


A moment passes and the next comes as quickly as we forget the later one.

Experimental Study on Web Asynchronicity

Apr 02

Experiments using the “web time noise” as a way of composition.
The noise seen has not been coded with a random function of some sort, it is the network response time and the browser’s imprecisions that create the asynchronicity.

Some kind of glitch

Nov 04

I love graphical glitch. When the machine, usually video compressor, makes a mistake, but doesn’t crash. You end up with amazing effects sometimes, like this one:

This image is a screen shot, untouched. (from my personal glitch collection)

With Glitcher, I try to render the same kind of bugs, but on still images. The animation is the glitching process itself. My first experimentations were on images, like those:

I wasn’t very satisfied with these: too simple algorithm, no movement. I also discovered that simpler imagery, even very abstract gives the best result. So I worked it again, and here is the V2:

The circular effect on the last 2 has been created for the use of “Glitcher” live, while rehearsing for an upcoming project “TO”. More on this later…


Oct 24

ROST a été présenté lors du vernissage de l’exposition “No Trouble Interactive Exhibition“, dont le thème était “le trouble”.

Le trouble apparait comme un état complexe car incompréhensible, impossible à appréhender. Nous le connaissons en tant qu’humains mais que serait le trouble pour une machine ?
Un bug informatique ? Non, la machine soit n’en a pas conscience car elle est «morte» en même temps, soit c’est pour elle un paramètre parfaitement mesurable et quantifiable.
Une corruption de donnée ? Elle n’a même pas conscience de ce que signifie la donnée.

La machine n’a aucune idée de ce qu’elle est en train d’accomplir, elle ne fait que brasser des données.
Au vu de la quantité astronomique de calculs qu’une machine est obligée de faire pour appréhender notre réalité, sortir du trouble de notre réalité – et encore, elle n’aura alors fait que transformer des données sans sens en autres données qui n’en ont pas plus pour elle: des cordonnées spatiales, des intensités de signaux,… – on peut dire que la machine n’a qu’une vision trouble de notre réalité.

La “vision” d’une machine, le seul langage qu’elle puisse appréhender se trouve dans le domaine mathématique:

4,75,2,753,91,29 – est trouble, n’a pas de sens
2,4,29,75,91,753 – a du sens.

L’image d’un visage ou d’un corps a du sens pour nous, humains. Pour une machine, il ne s’agit que d’une suite de couleurs organisées de manière incompréhensible.
La machine «rost» nous montre sa propre vision de notre réalité. Plutôt que d’afficher des pixels dans un ordre qui n’a aucun sens, elle les trie, les organise selon ses critères de machine* afin de leur donner un ordre, une représentation qui ait du sens pour elle.

Dès que la machine sort du trouble, nous y tombons. Nos visages et nos corps n’ont plus de sens. Pourtant tout est là, trouble.

*Le langage de programmation de «rost» (Processing, donc Java) définit une couleur au moyen de 32 bits. Dans ces 32 bits sont stockées 4 informations: transparence, rouge, vert, bleu. Chacune de ces information dispose de 8bit, soit une valeur entre 0 et 255. Par exemple, la couleur rouge s’exprime comme ceci:
00000000 11111111 00000000 00000000
On peut exprimer ces 32bits en décimal, ce qui pour notre exemple donne 16711680. Voilà comment «rost» obtient un nombre pour chaque pixel qu’il reçoit de la camera, et peut ensuite les trier.

Correspondance num�rique & SOS

Sep 25

In the very beginnings of noussommesquatrevingt, we started a project “Correspondance num�rique”: Letters to a computer that don’t even exists.


Pong of the death

Aug 10

Pong has always been a cute game. Not anymore with the help of Paul Marique and Sébastien Rien.

This began as a cute project: play Pong in the wild with a video projector, a gigantic wall and a MIDI controller. Then, fine wine helping, the game went out of control and is now part of a coming live. Serendipity I love you…

L’invité Mystère. Trailer ?#1. from NS80 on Vimeo.