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Star In Your Own Generative Comic

Generative Comic Book from Nova Jiang on Vimeo.

It had to happen one day. Hollywood has already plundered the comic book medium to such a degree that churning out a new adaptation is like shooting the form in a barrel—anyone who was remotely interested in the medium now never wants to see another superhero movie as long as Stan Lee lives. So maybe the new artistic practice where comic books can flourish is in the world of generative art. And why not? Artists Nova Jiang—who was at our Art Hack Weekend back in August—and Jake Jefferies have taken the humble form of sequential art and given it an algorithmic kick up the butt with their installation Ideogenetic Machine.

Participants’ images are captured by a camera and mixed with a database of Jiang’s illustrations that speculate a narrative from topical events and news. Then it all gets sprinkled with magic dust (or, more accurately, put through some custom software) and lo! the comic is generated in real-time. Users are thrown into the panelled narrative—not unlike a certain A-ha music video—and can respond to the emerging plot and interact with it. After it’s printed you can even put in your own dialogue in the speech bubbles.

One other thing, when you’re watching the video don’t be fooled into cranking up the volume in the hope of hearing the sound, there isn’t any and you’ll only regret it when you inadvertently go to watch something else.

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