Expressive Processing

  1. 1. Noah Wardrip-Fruin

    University of California, Santa Cruz

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The forthcoming book Expressive Processing
(MIT Press, 2009) uses its title’s term to point toward
two important issues for humanities scholars.
First, “expressive processing” encompasses the fact that
the internal processes of digital media are designed artifacts,
like buildings, transportation systems, or music
players. As with other designed mechanisms, processes
can be seen in terms of their efficiency, their aesthetics,
their points of failure, or their (lack of) suitability
for particular purposes. Their design can be typical, or
unusual, for their era and context. The parts and their
arrangement may express kinship with, and points
of divergence from, design movements and schools
of thought. They can be progressively redesigned, repurposed, or used as the foundation for new systems
- by their original designers or others - all while
retaining traces and characteristics from prior uses.
Second, unlike many other designed mechanisms, the
processes of digital media operate on, and in terms of,
humanly-meaningful elements and structures. For example,
a natural language processing system (for understanding
or generating human language) expresses a
miniature philosophy of language in its universe of interpretation
or expression. When such a system is incorporated
into a work of digital media - such as an interactive
fiction - its structures and operations are invoked whenever
the work is experienced. This invocation selects,
as it were, a particular constellation from among the
system’s universe of possibilities. In a natural language
generation system, this might be a particular sentence
to be shown to the audience in the system output. From
the output sentence it is not possible to see where the
individual elements (e.g., words, phrases, sentence templates,
or statistical language structures) once resided in
the larger system. It is not possible to see how the movements
of the model universe resulted in this constellation
becoming possible - and becoming more apparent than
other possible ones.

Conference Info


ADHO - 2009

Hosted at University of Maryland, College Park

College Park, Maryland, United States

June 20, 2009 - June 25, 2009

176 works by 303 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (4)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None