by Paul Vanouse
Terminal Time is a history "engine:"
a machine which combines historical events, ideological rhetoric,
familiar forms of TV documentary, consumer polls and artificial
intelligence algorithms to create hybrid cinematic experiences for
mass audiences that are different every single time. History as
it was meant to be told!
Through an audience response-measuring
device (applause-meter) connected to a computer, viewing audiences
respond to periodic questions reminiscent of marketing polls. These
questions occur every 6 minutes during the story. The loudest applause
determines the winning answer.
Your answers to these questions allow
the computer program to create historical narratives that mirror
and even exaggerate your biases and desires. Just clap, watch and
enjoy. At long last, Terminal Time gives you the history you deserve!
The Terminal Time engine uses the
past 1,000 years of world history as "fuel" for creating these custom-made
historical documentaries. Each program generated by the machine
can be either projected on a screen or broadcast on television monitors.
(Although the video and sound are constructed in the computer, the
signal is compatible with standard video technology.) Each program
lasts approximately 30 minutes.
the Terminal Time Web site
Paul Vanouse is
an artist using electronic media to explore contemporary culture.
He employs sociology and "big-science" in interactive artworks designed
for mass-audiences. His interactive installations, exploring everything
from the hand-gesture language of the Chinese Opera to the OJ Simpson
affair to the Visible Human Project, have been exhibited in Germany,
France, Chile, Canada, The Netherlands, Denmark and in numerous
venues across the United States. Most recently, his Consensual
Fantasy Engine (1995) was shown at the Louvre in Paris.
He has taught at the University
of California, San Diego and at Carnegie Mellon University, and
held research fellowships at the Center for Research and Computing
in the Arts at UCSD and the Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie
Mellon. Since 1997, Vanouse's work has been supported by grants
and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, Pennsylvania
Council for the Arts and Pennsylvania Council for the Humanities.
He's now working on a collective project called "Terminal Time,"
concerned with rewriting the history of the world as an interactive
Dr. Eric H. Nyberg, 3rd is a research
computer scientist at the Language Technologies Institute in the
School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He received
his Ph.D. in Computational Linguistics from Carnegie Mellon in 1992,
and his B.A. in Computer Science from Boston University in 1983.
Dr. Nyberg worked for 3 years in the Knowledge Based Systems group
at GTE Laboratories before joining CMU in 1986. He has authored
or co-authored over 60 papers, technical reports and presentations
in the areas of natural language processing, machine translation,
and language prosthesis for the speech-impaired.
Dr. Nyberg's most recent work in
the area of machine text is the realitymachine,
a Burroughs/Gysin-style cutup engine, with support for user submission
of raw text, editing of machine results, and saving of results for
group browsing. realitymachine made its debut in the the June '97
edition of SWITCH.