Art Twitter bots

2016Python, bots, PaaS

During my Erasmus exchange semester at Winchester School of Art, I spent a lot of time thinking about art, it's definition, and my relationship to it. A part of that thinking was programming twitter bots.

A twitter bot, if you haven't met one yet, is an automated system that posts software-generated tweets. I made two: @this_is_art_bot and @my_art_bot.

@this_is_art_bot

It might be a silly, time-wasting question - but one that many artists will ask at least once in their career. It might not have a final answer, it is worth asking for the discussion it brings. Sometimes it might be in academic settings (in aesthetic theory, or perhaps philosophy of art); sometimes it’s in a pub over a glass of beer.

This Is Art Bot is a light-hearted poke at one of the many possible answers: that art is, simply, anything labeled as such. It retweets random tweets tagged #art and... no, that’s pretty much it.

This is art.

The bot's profile page graphic is a photo of a post-it that says "this is art", stuck to a blank wall.

@my_art_bot

My Art Bot is a personal project about emotions behind artwork. Through it, I explored the way I create art, and how I share it with others.

I make art for many different reasons, but I know that underneath it all, there is always a bit of asking for validation. It's embarassing to think about. After all, as creators we're supposed to "know what we're doing", not ask our audience for anything (not even ask to have audience, most of the time). But is that really how it has to be? And how does it relate to the aesthetic theory definitions of art, as an act of thinking, a method of thinking, a failure of communication?

Example bot post, a gilded frame containing white page with text "Please, think I'm funny".

Technology notes

Both bots are written in Python using the Tweepy library. As is usually the case, the programming itself took minimum time; most of it was spent formulating the idea and then wrangling OpenShift deployment pipeline...

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