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Combinatory Conditions

October 23 & 24, 2015

Artists Lecture: 

Saturday, October 23, 3-4:30pm

October 23, 2015 - October 24, 2015

Show Catalog

Roderick Coover / Nick Montfort / Scott Rettberg

Presenting two collaborative, combinatory works by filmmaker Roderick Coover (Cultures In Webs, Theory of Time Here) working with poet Nick Montfort (Implementation, Sea and Spar Between) and e-fiction writer Scott Rettberg (The Unknown, Kind of Blue). A recombinatory film draws from a database of narrative segments that never plays the text and images in the same order twice, yet nonetheless produces coherent stories.


In Three Rails Live, the filmmaker and authors wrote recursively, exchanging texts in response to images and images in response to texts, evolving themes such as "Landscape and Fate", "Death by Snake", "Toxic", "Flight", and "Flood." Narratives and images combine into segmented stories such as "Empty Glass," "Between Stations" and "Passing Cars". These reconfiguring fragments are interrupted by "perverbs", in which proverb fragments combine oddly familiar but corrupted phrases such as, "where there's smoke, there's mirrors" or "nothing ventured makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Running continuously, the system never generates the same narrative in the same order twice, but nevertheless produces a coherent holistic story of a man's late search for meaning among the detritus of his life and environment. It is created by filmmaker Roderick Coover, Nick Montfort, and Scott Rettberg.


Toxi•City is a feature-length, database film imagining lives impacted by sea-level change that uses innovative digital forms to straddle conventions of documentary and narrative cinema.  It interweaves the stories of six fictional characters surviving landscapes that have been transformed by floods.  Fictional testimonies are set against nonfictional accounts deaths that occurred during Hurricane Sandy and other recent storms. The system offers moments of resolution, contact and hopes for the future, before the narratives are broken apart and, like the oceans tides, a fresh cycle begins. It is created by filmmaker Roderick Coover and writer Scott Rettberg.

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