The Trumpet of the Swan
This paper will outline the ideation, background and development of the electronic artwork The Trumpet of the Swan (Donnachie & Simionato, 2017) presented by the authors at the Electronic Literature Organisation conference in Porto, Portugal in 2017. The artwork is a custom-coded drawing-robot which automatically inscribes in natural media, every post published from the personal Twitter profile of the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, identified on Twitter as @realDonaldTrump. The machine, which has the appearance reminiscent of a swan, including a broad “body” balanced on two short legs that end in webbed “feet”, is a semi-autonomous robot that writes in a pen, crowned by a long white plume, on a continuous scroll of paper while producing bird-like sounds. The drawing-robot remains permanently in a state of attention and the demonstrated sequence of actions can only be triggered remotely and by the 45th President of the U.S.A. himself (or more precisely, by whomever publishes a new tweet through his Twitter account ‘@realDonaldTrump’). In other words, to borrow a popular phrase taken from twentieth century cold-war propaganda: only the President has the ability to “launch” this artwork which otherwise remains dormant, in waiting.
electronic art, drawing machines, robotic art, twitterbots, social media
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