The Art and Nonsense Poetry of Obscure Twitter Bots

Art and curation left in the hands of scripts and algorithms is fascinating, and nowhere more accessible than when on Twitter. There are a handful of bots that tweet varied and interesting art. Art that makes you wonder how useful humans are anyway, other than for coding thousands of these things.

Some bots on this list drip out material from a database, while some procedurally generate art, or mash up existing material in new ways.

My obsession with machine curated/created art has led me to hunt for more and more Twitter bots, and I’ve found and followed some great ones so far. Here they are:

Mythology Bot

This bot is programmed to spin out items from S. Thompson’s Motif index of folk-literature, a list of every plot line or theme from all major mythology worldwide. The tweets can feelย like non-sequiturs at times, but according to the creator, @BooDooPerson, the bot uses no Markov but actually draws upon the exact text in the corpus. Read more in the blog post he wrote here.

infinite deserts_ฯˆ__

infinite deserts is an ASCII art generator kicking out text-based landscapes every three hours. A lot of bots rely on emoji to make dynamic art, but infinite deserts shows that good old fashioned plain text can make art just as visually interesting.

soft landscapes

soft landscapes was the first Twitter bot I ever found, and one of my favorites to this day. It generates simple, misty landscapes reminiscent of the Wyoming wilderness in Firewatch. The source code is available here.

dust_exe

A new nebula every 11 hours, the code behind dust.exe tells it generate a random selection of color values from a pre-defined range of dark, mid, and light. Clouds and stars are generated in the same way, and blurred with random parameters. See the code on GitHub here.

gradients

From the subtle to the default PowerPoint, gradients tweets randomly generated gradients every half an hour.

AnimeCommentBot

The fact that I’m rarely able to watch any anime all the way through doesn’t really matter when I have AnimeCommentBot takingย subtitled scenes out of context. Looking at it in detail, I’m starting to doubt whether or not these are real lines from anime… (Update: turns out the text is drawn from a non-anime database of dialog).

wayback_exe

Drawing from Archive.org’s Wayback machine, wayback_exeย tweets screenshots from the abandoned web every two hours. Find out about ancient websites you never knew existed.

Pixel Sorter

Unlike the bots so far on this list (which generate tweets from their pre-programmed source code), Pixel Sorter is fed images by users (or bots) and spits out some glitched variation. As I discovered, it’s not always particularly interesting, especially if you don’t give it custom parameters, but it can do great things. It’s also interesting to see it react endlessly to other bots tweeting at it.

a strange voyage

a strange voyage is a nautical story generator that tweets a new short story (or sentence of one infinite story) every 30 minutes. From what I can tell, the grammar is either programmed better than most, or the script is limited to filling in the blanks in sentences. Either way, it’s programmed to always make sense and be free of errors.

WordPadBot

Opening images in programs they weren’t intended to be used with, or non-image files in visual editors has been a long-standing part of chaotic glitch art. WordPadBot emulates the effect of opening an image in WordPad, which โ€” as the bot’s creator explained to me โ€” “replaces lone “\r” and “\n” with “\r\n” in the raw (RGB) image data”. It doesn’t seem to be in action any more, but its archive is has long conversations with other image glitch bots worth seeing.

Lowpolybot

This bot creates random low poly versions of the images you tweet at it, resulting in interactions like this (click here for the full thread of bot back-and-forth):

lists_of_lists

Drawing from the deep archives of Wikipedia’s many obscure pages, lists_of_lists tweets a random Wiki article every 4 hours which starts with ‘list of’ in the title. Seems like a strange thing for me to care about, but lists of geographical locations I’ve never heard of are my weakness and the kinds articles I can easily waste half a day falling deeper and deeper into.


Note: the header image for this post was created by tweeting a @softlandscapes image to @PixelSorter.

Space landscape-obsessed dreck penman. Appears on TechCrunch, The Next Web, and on Secret Cave in a far less restrained capacity.