Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Inspiration Machine, Part 2.


The Inspiration Machine is essentially a tube which presents the user with a series of four inspirational stimuli, a combination of words, letters, images - both abstract and figurative - as well as some Egyptian hieroglyphs. These stimuli are revealed through revolving windows in independently movable paper sleeves. To use the machine, the person in need of inspiration may either think of a random number, or roll a die to generate a number. A preference for 'up' or 'down' is also either expressed or randomly generated by means of a coin toss. The first rotating sleeve is then turned the requisite number of times in the indicated direction, revealing the first of the inspirational stimuli. This process is repeated until all four windows have revealed a stimulus. It is then up to the user to interpret those stimuli in whatever way they wish.

Here's a photo, showing the inspirational windows in series:

The following sequence of four images shows more detail of the inspirational stimuli, giving an example of the kind of inspiration that may be produced by random turning. Apologies for the poor focusing, blame the camera man. I will describe what each window shows, just to clarify.

The first stimulus (above) is verbal. It presents the words RACE MIND in blue, overwritten with yellow letters that can be read either as CHIN ANT or CHINA NT, or however the user wishes.

The second stimulus (above) is visual, representing a sail boat on the sea.

The third stimulus (above) shows a pair of hieroglyphs. The first is suggestive of a pair of tongs, the second of a hook of some kind.

The fourth stimulus (above) shows butterflies and flowers, etc..

You get the idea.

Obviously, it's up to the user how loosely or literally the various stimuli are interpreted. They are intended to work in conjunction with the imagination of the user, who is expected to open his or her mind to the possibilities suggested. For example the sail boat on the sea could plant the seed of a journey of some kind, the precise nature of which is left up to the user. Or it could literally inspire a story about taking a boat to sea.

I'll post some more permutations again soon.


David Isaak said...

That's brilliant--and doesn't require a book of interps the way I Ching does!

The inventor is clearly a genius.

David Isaak said...

Pamela, my significant other, is Technology Strategy Lead for Network & Space Systems at Boeing. She read these two posts and said, "Now that's creative, that's somebody we should hire."

She says I ought to point out that you have one year to patent an idea after it is first made public...

Nik's Blog said...

Utterly marvellous... I triumph of design.


ricoeurian said...

marvellous! makes me think of those one-armed bandit machines in a casino - the tumblers spin and spin and eventually settle on a symbol each. seriously clever.