Algorithmic Movies
February 24, 2012 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Can you tell me about some algorithmically developed/edited movies? Or movies that are different every time they're shown?

So, I recently read about whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir and it sounds pretty neat. It's a film that's generated algorithmically from a bank of clips every time it's shown, with a new soundtrack every time.

I'm also aware of The Boss of it All which seems to have some kind of computer controlled component, but it's unclear to me what that component is. I think it was more about the filming than the editing.

Anyway, it seems to me these can't be the only two examples of this kind of thing. Are there other movies (or, you know, "video art pieces") that rearrange themselves every time they're shown? Or have sound that changes? Or some component of the filming/editing that was somehow algorithmically determined?

posted by hapticactionnetwork to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I'm also aware of The Boss of it All which seems to have some kind of computer controlled component, but it's unclear to me what that component is.

It used a process called Automavision for the camerawork:
Von Trier being Von Trier, The Boss of It All has one very perverse twist: it was made without a cameraman. The director was using a new process, "developed with the intention of limiting human influence", which he has called Automavision. This entails choosing the best possible fixed camera position and then allowing a computer to choose when to tilt, pan or zoom. "For a long time, my films have been handheld," he explains. "That has to do with the fact that I am a control freak. With Automavision, the technique was that I would frame the picture first and then push a button on the computer. I was not in control - the computer was in control."
posted by griphus at 8:45 AM on February 24, 2012

Best answer: A Page Of Madness isn't technically algorithmic, but it is aleatory - it's a japanese avant-garde silent film. The film was supposedly made by putting the screenplay in a box, shaking it, and filming the screenplay in the order in which pages were randomly pulled from the box. The title also translates as "A Crazy Page" or "A Page Out Of Order."

Kafka's The Trial didn't have a set order - it was assembled from scraps by Kafka's executor Max Brod. Presumably each chapter is a set-piece that could work in any order - another aleatory text.

Also, old mefi favorite Borges, "April March" and "The Garden of Forking Paths."

None of these are either algorithmic or cinematic, but they are aleatory, formally indeterminate artworks. Hope this helps...

posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 11:46 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

ALEATORY! That's the word I couldn't remember! So, now I can link to this
posted by griphus at 11:48 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine in college as part of his thesis created a piece he called "Schroedingers Box". The movie would play on a screen inside a wooden box but would end as soon the lid was opened and the viewer peered inside.
posted by TwoWordReview at 5:26 PM on February 24, 2012

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