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
- Abstract viewed = 77 times
- PDF viewed = 51 times
- HTML viewed = 23 times
DONNACHIE, Karen ann and Andy Simionato (2017). This is a Magazine: Live Draw, Milan: Edicola Radetzky.
GRIGG, Brandon (2012). “Twitter's bird logo gets a makeover,” CNN, 6 June 2012. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/06/tech/social-media/twitter-bird-logo/index.html
GROYS, Boris (2011). “Google: Words Beyond Grammar.” Documenta 13: 100 Notizen-100 Gedanken 46.
HERSHEY, Allen V (1967). Calligraphy for Computers. Dahlgren, VA: U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory.
INGRAM, Matthew (2017). “Here’s Why Donald Trump Says He Loves Twitter and Plans to Keep Tweeting.” Fortune. New York:Time inc. 17 January 2017. http://fortune.com/2017/01/17/trump-loves-twitter/
KLEE, Paul (1922). Twittering Machine (Die Zwitscher-Maschine).
WHITE, Elwyn B (1970). The Trumpet of the Swan. New York: Harper & Row; London: Hamish Hamilton.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
MATLIT embraces full open access to all issues. Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. The article can be quoted but not changed and presented differently.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
- A CC licensing information in a machine-readable format is embedded in all articles published by MATLIT.
- Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
- NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.
- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measuresthat legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.
- You do not have to comply with the license for elements of the material in the public domain or where your use is permitted by an applicable exception or limitation.
- No warranties are given. The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may limit how you use the material.