Light Verse

From Isaac Asimov's Robot Dreams

Light Verse (excerpt)


Mr. Travis arrived rather late. He had made one last attempt at a
light-sculpture and had failed dismally.
He greeted Mrs. Lardner with a kind of puzzled respect and said, 
"That was a peculiar robot who took my hat and coat." 
"That is Max," said Mrs. Lardner. 
"He is quite maladjusted, and he's a fairly old model. How is it you 
did not return it to the factory?" 
"Oh, no," said Mrs. Lardner. "It would be too much trouble." 
"None at all, Mrs. Lardner," said Travis. "You would be surprised
how simple a task it was. Since I am with U. S. Robots, I took the 
liberty of adjusting him myself. It took no time and you'll find he is 
now in perfect working order." 
A queer change came over Mrs. Lardner's face. Fury found a place
on it for the first time in her gentle life, and it was as though the lines 
did not know how to form. 
"You adjusted him?" she shrieked. "But it was he who created my
light-sculptures. It was the maladjustment, the maladjustment, which 
you can never restore, that--that--"
It was really unfortunate that she had been showing her collection
at the time and that the jeweled dagger from Cambodia was on the 
marble tabletop before her. 
Travis's face was also distorted. "You mean if I had studied his 
uniquely maladjusted positronic brain-paths I might have learned--" 
She lunged with the knife too quickly for anyone to stop her and
he did not try to dodge. Some said he came to meet it--as though he
wanted to die. 

I produced this video using a local install of PYTTI, and a bit of heavy hardware.

It's always interesting generating videos like this with only the "tiniest" amount of nudging for the model, and the computer with its silicon infused brain, to create these surreal visuals. No special maladjustments required, but they do exist in the code and models, inherently.

Generative art has come a long, long way since Asimov's musings. But of course, Asimov was far from first to have come up with notions like those we glean from his works.