Show and Tell: 11
The Museum of Generated Art by Michael Simpson

The Museum of Generated Art by Michael Simpson uses the format of a text-based game, where you, the visitor, can explore a space where endless paintings are generated from simple typed commands. 

As you enter the museum, a small grey cat named Lily leaps off an alcove to reveal a note left for you to read. You are invited to step further into the Brutalist structure, which reveals painting after painting until you finally push your body through a small tunnel, to find out what lies in the darkness of the final room. Enhanced by glowing green text layered over a grey background, the atmosphere is one of excitement and mystery, reminiscent of a detective novel from your adolescence.


One of the prompts from The Museum of Generated Art, in green type text against a black background.

Representing something that actually exists is not a priority here; rather, The Museum of Generated Art functions as a springboard for the users to imagine the implied architecture in their own minds, which is perhaps the most important work of art being generated by entering the museum. 

This is a welcome break in the time of social distancing as it pertains to the art world, when galleries and art spaces scramble to move their exhibitions online, striving for realism.

In The Museum of Generated Art, your art experience is pared down to commands and the engine that supports them. New artworks can be endlessly generated from the same input, and each user experiences the space differently because they imagine the surroundings based on their own personal references.

A "painting" from The Museum of Generated Art. In green text against a black background is a randomly generated morse-code like text serving as a generated "painting" in the space.

The idea of the museum goes all the way back to Simpson’s childhood, when his father encouraged him to mess around with the family collection of floppy disc games. Playing around with text-based games taught Simpson how to read and would greatly inform his future practice by awakening in him a sense of the computer as a magic portal, one that leads to infinite worlds beyond the screen.

The Museum of Generated Art is foremost an invitation to use your imagination. Special Special encourages you to step into this museum where no two paintings or visits will ever be alike.

Enjoy the work:
The Museum of Generated Art

Michael Simpson is an independent software developer, researcher, and media artist based in New York City. Michael’s research interests revolve around multi-sensory experience and how real-time computer graphics, sound analysis, and artificial intelligence can be combined to augment and enhance human experience. Michael is an alumni of the School For Poetic Computation and New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program where he currently serves as an adjunct professor.

Twitch: mgs_nyc
Soundcloud: mgs_nyc


For Show and Tell, Special Special invites a selection of artists to produce or share work that can be viewed in the browser, downloaded, or streamed. The work is presented as a series of digital exhibitions periodically delivered to email inboxes.

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