Procedural Authorship Project

Due Dates:

4/22: Version 1.0 Due
4/29: Version 2.0 Due
5/6: Version 3.0 Due

Throughout our discussions of games, computational art, procedural authorship, and procedural rhetoric, we’ve been discussing how computational procedures can be used to express ideas, to make arguments, and to create certain kinds of experiences. Procedural expression uses computation as more than a vehicle for text and image. A procedural author uses computation itself as the expressive medium.

In this collaborative project, you will use procedures to express ideas and make arguments. In teams (one student from “Computational Art” will team up with two students from “Digital Rhetorics”), you will combine your expertise to create a computational artifact. That artifact can be a game, but it does not have to be. The primary goal here is to use computational procedures as an expressive medium. The audiences interacting with your artifact should be afforded the opportunity to reflect on how rules are shaping what is or is not possible. Your job is to make an argument or express an idea by way of computational procedures.

Your procedural authorship project should express an idea or make an argument. The students in “Digital Rhetoric” have spent the semester examining how digital tools and environments expand our available means of persuasion. In doing so, they have explored “argument” in a broad sense. We typically think of argument narrowly: I argue an idea, and my audience either accepts or rejects that argument. However, argument rarely happens in these ways, and this is particularly true when using procedurality. An audience interacting with a computational artifact will often glean various arguments from that experience, arguments that appear over and beyond what the artist/writer/rhetor has intended. This is what we expect will happen in these projects.

In addition to using procedures to create something, you will also write a 1000-word reflection on your artifact. This writing should describe both your process and what you hope the piece accomplishes. These brief essays (authored collaboratively) provide you with some space to explain the choices you’ve made and the goals of your project.

Both Meg and Jim will evaluate these projects, and we will do so with the following questions in mind:

  • Have you used procedures as an expressive medium? Does the project use procedures to express an idea and/or make an argument?
  • Does the project allow an audience to reflect on the procedural system you’ve authored, opening up space for reflection, dialogue or critique?
  • Does your reflective essay explain your process in detail, explaining the choices you made, your revision process, and what you hope the piece accomplishes?
    Is your essay written clearly with no grammatical errors?
  • Was your project submitted on time?

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