Distant Transmissions from the Twitter Botscape


Art made by robots is my new favorite thing.

I have a strange obsession with Twitter bots that automatically generate landscapes and I’ve tracked down accounts putting out art ranging from fantasy maps and ASCII star charts to softly lit landscapes and emoji collages.

Part of the fascination comes from the art existing in a strange gray area between permanent and transient. Permanent because it will exist forever (hopefully, don’t you die on me) on Twitter’s servers. Transient because a few thousand people will glance at each piece before it drops off the face of the internet and is archived below the fold and seen by 1 or 2 people from then on.

At their most complex, these bots create Firewatch-style landscapes in a permanent state of sunrise/sunset…



And snippets of maps from uncharted fantasy worlds:



And at their simplest, they’re plain-text representations of the expanses of space and deserts:





Here we have scripts generating art within the structure of what we imagine a desert, sky, map, or landscape to look like. I can’t help make a comparison to No Man’s Sky’s overwhelmingly drab procedurally generated universe.

As Lee said, yes you’re on a different planet and that’s a different dog you’re seeing, except this dog probably has a bigger arse.

Instead of existing in the confines of a bounded universe (bounded, even if it would take you over a lifetime to explore it) and being just variations on a theme, these procedurally generated snippets of art act as windows into another world and exist in the sprawling, truly infinite, diverse and digitally beautiful internet.

Just bots running on a server somewhere, automatically generating landscapes to be put out into the internet and buried somewhere deep in its algorithm timeline.












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