page with an excellent history of the "a million monkeys at a million typewriters" meme, stretching back in one form or another to Aeneid http://projects.chass.utoronto.ca/chwp/CHC2005/Butler/Butler.htm#_1 which makes me wonder if any dada artists were familiar with Émile Borel's work (specifically the infinite monkey thing), they would have been contemporaneous and in the same place!
"In 2003, lecturers and students from the University of Plymouth MediaLab Arts course [...] left a computer keyboard in the enclosure of six Celebes crested macaques.... [...] Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five total pages largely consisting of the letter S, the lead male began by bashing the keyboard with a stone, and the monkeys continued by urinating and defecating on it." this is probably the only poem that has ever been written https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem#Real_monkeys
all of this turned up sorta peripherally when trying to figure out why Kenner and O'Rourke called their program "Travesty" (the Byte magazine version which is commonly cited as popularizing Markov chain text generation) https://elmcip.net/sites/default/files/media/critical_writing/attachments/1984_11_byte_09-12_travesty.pdf ("travesty," of course, comes from French _travestir_ "cross-dress"; its cognate is a reclaimed pejorative for trans people in South America; the whole thing brings to mind Turing's gender "imitation game" and I'm wondering if that was intentional)
OED has a specific definition of "travesty" as a "literary composition which aims at exciting laughter by burlesque and ludicrous treatment of a serious work; [...] hence, a grotesque or debased imitation or likeness; a caricature" which seems like the kind of thing that Kenner would have been referencing. but there's definitely something here about how imitation and "genuineness" in the context of computation is often intertwined with gender identity
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