Automatic.ink is a platform for algorithmic literature.

Automatic.ink was created by Raphaël Muñoz & Douglas Edric Stanley for the research project Écriture mobile at the HEAD –Genève. The research was financed by HES-SO.

AutomaticWriter is an application for writing algorithmic literature. It is currently in a highly experimental (0.1 beta) form and is presented here merely as a template for future research and development. Use at your own risk. You can download AutomaticWriter (0.1.1) for OSX 10.10+.

The text/webpage you are reading right now was entirely written and designed within the AutomaticWriting application. You can read its unformatted index.automat file; but please note that raw .automat files are best viewed within the AutomaticReader application.

You can view the Automatic.writer source code and contribute to the project by forking it at github.com.

AutomaticWriting<> is an experimental programming language designed for the Automatic.ink platform. It is very much a work in progress. This language integrates various pre-existing languages and standards such as Markdown and Twee. In the future, libraries such as RiTa could theoretically be integrated as language components. There is an AutomaticWriting document you can read in PDF format that describes the language in further detail.

In conjunction with this research project, several workshops were held at the Media Design Master of the –HEAD Genève, the Aix-en-Provence School of Art, and the Master de création littéraire du Havre. We are currently working to obtain the rights to publish these texts as examples of what can be done with the software. More info in the weeks and months to come. We are also in the process of finishing work on « Le vaisseau de Thésée », an algorithmic poem by David Calvo commissioned for this project.

Automatic.ink was designed around the following question : “What would an algorithmic literary writing tool look like?

By “algorithmic literature”, we mean a literary form composed of modular content and forms, capable of re-writing itself based on internal and external conditions; in other words: interactive and generative literary texts.

Many excellent “e-lit” tools, languages and libraries already exist for algorithmic literature (cf. Twine, RiTa, Fungus, …). Many of these tools, however, do not focus on the writing act, and require using development tools during the actual process of writing. While the SublimeText editor is, as its name suggests, sublime, it is far too nerdy for the writerly type. Or, as in the case of the excellent Twine platform — where the writing act is placed front and center in its design —, the tool nevertheless seems to us too focused on specific genres of “e-lit”, such as hyperlinked interactive fiction and textual adventure games.

For the Automatic.ink platform, we instead focused on a writing tool that a poet might find compelling, and would therefore evolve out of an interface dedicated to the modular written word. As the research project evolved, our goal slowly evolved into a writing tool for text-based algorithmic literature, associated with a “programming language for poets” named AutomaticWriting<>.