Infinite Monkey Syndrome

Date: 2012
Posted by: James R. Ford
Cast: Not given
Credits: Produced by James R. Ford
Duration: 1.30

A few months ago it was reported that US programmer Jesse Anderson had set up a virtual set of some millions of monkeys (using Hadoop), all of them tying at random on virtual typewriters, and had managed produce something that was 99.99% Shakespeare – the first text to be achieved in this way being ‘A Lover’s Complaint’. Anderson had cut corners however, because every time the random typing came up with words that roughly matched something from the Shakespeare canon then they would be retained, if not then discarded. With this and other constraints, Anderson could achieve his goal. The purely random production of Shakespeare by an infinite number of monkeys remains something for the philosophers and theoretical mathematicians.

Or for a videomaker. This droll piece, made by British artist James R. Ford, is an extract from a 9 minutes 8 second loop (therefore designed in principle to run forever). It shows us a woman in a monkey suit, typing Shakespeare, as the tags to the video tell us, because otherwise we would not know (a photograph of the typewriter on the artist’s website indicates that only gibberish has been produced – so far). Is is a Shakespeare video? I say that it is – and so it is (and just to make the point this post has been tagged with all of the plays and poems). A video to watch, infinitely.

Jesse Anderson explains more about his project on this video:

Links:
Vimeo page
BBC online news item on Jesse Anderson’s project
Jesse Anderson’s Million Monkeys Project
James R. Ford’s personal website

Two Gentlemen of Verona

Date:
Posted by: newzealand010
Cast: not given
Credits: not given
Duration: 2.59

Every picture tells a story – every picture has a story. And so one would love to know what the story is behind this particular jape. Four young people in someone’s back garden (in New Zealand?) enact a pared-down version of The Two Gentlemen of Verona. There is no speech (bar three words); instead the bare bones of plot and character are given through subtitles, making this a silent film of sorts. It’s all done in a mocking manner to the tune of assorted pop and dance tracks. As with so many such YouTube videos, the joke is one to be shared between the participants and their friends. What makes it unusual is that they took one of Shakespeare’s less familiar plays as their theme, and that they went about their task with such gusto. It all means something: perhaps an expression of democratic Shakespeare, that he can played anywhere, in any form, by anyone. All you need is a video camera – and a back garden.

Links:
YouTube page