“The Scribe” by Roman Verostko

  • ©, Roman Verostko, The Scribe


    The Scribe

Artist(s) and People Involved:



Artist Statement:

    The Scribe: an electronic scriptor. While circumstances have prevented the physical presence of The Scribe at ISEA96, this document, along with the artist’s slides and brief informal video, provide information on The Scribe (and its historical origins). The Scribe is essentially a “personal expert system” consisting of a multi-pen plotter driven by original code. Developed over a period of 15 years this robot-artist literally “grows” visual forms from randomly generated bits of information. Drawing from a bank of technical pens The Scribe automatically executes art-works on archival quality rag papers. The software has accumulated thousands of lines of code, and has come to embody artistic procedures evolved from the artist’s earlier work as a painter. All form-generating routines operate within parameter limits that are preset by the artist. The Scribe then works on its own, making form generating decisions within those parameters. This includes ink pen choices.


    The Scribe, an electronic “scriptor”, is our equivalent of the medieval manuscript illuminator who worked in the scriptorium. Random bits of information are transformed by The Scribe into visual forms which celebrate the information processing procedures that drive our culture. The Scribe employs a pseudorandomizer to cast around for working parameters to initiate yet one more form. Laboring under a set of artistic procedures evolved over a period of years, the machine hesitates, reaches for a pen and proceeds to execute pen strokes . It does so with the same “seeming” intelligence of those ubiquitous machines whose algorithms control more and more of our daily routines. Through its drawing activity The Scribe invites us to ponder the nature of the human-machine intercourse so pervasive in today’s culture.