Electronic Typing Monkey

By ZHANG Yu (aka John Cheung)

Artistic Description:

There is an ancient legend: A monkey with a typewriter, in infinite time, typed out all Shakespeare’s works. In this version, there are much more than one monkey, working hard at the same time, trying to impress you.

I promise, no ape is abused in this project.

The first concept, as well as the name of the artwork, came from the monkey story about the probability theory. So in the first version, I tried to maximise the randomness, but the result was not that good — almost all the sentences are not readable. So in the later versions, I changed the grammar to ensure the sentences make sense. But still I want the randomness and the place for the visitors to interpret, as a result, the logical links between the sentences are weak or even absent. To me it’s like a double generate process — the programme generate the 3 sentences, and the visitor will generate their own story according to these sentences.

The graphics — the human eye — is designed to represent a observer, or a supervisor, to strengthen the idea of ‘look into’ (as in the monkey’s story, although it might have typed out all the Shakespeares’ works, if we don’t look into it, it still doesn’t make sense) and the place of the human (aka the visitors) in this work — at the very end of the process, the still need to generate their own story as a part of their experience of this artwork.

Technical Description:

There are not so much to tell… I think the code is quite clear and I have put some explanations in the code comment.

visit it as a individual page

Link to the sketch: Previous version 1 ; Previous version2 ; Final version

Screenshots (On MacBook/iPad, click to see the origin image)

The result of ‘Download This’ button

References List:

Use p5js and Rita library; include a font designed by Vic Fieger and a sound from freesound.org created by pakasit21; some texts are quoted from or inspired by songs I love, including Hole in The World and Hotel California by The Eagles, The Sound of Silence by Paul Simon, Billy and Sally Can’t Dance by Lou Reed and so on.