We are a lab/studio. We develop new poetic practices and new understandings of digital media by focusing on the material, formal, and historical aspects of computation and language. The Trope Tank is a community, a set of projects and explorations, and two places that are contexts for collaborative research, teaching, and artistic practice. These places are at MIT and in New York City. The Trope Tank is a project of founder and director Nick Montfort.
The MIT Trope Tank is a Comparative Media Studies/Writing research group. In normal times the MIT Trope Tank exists as a place for class visits, collaborative research, poetic and artistic work, and community meetings—to be specific, those of the People’s Republic of Interactive Fiction. One notable past project at MIT is Renderings, the first major effort to translate many computational literary works into English from other languages. During the pandemic MIT researchers are conducting research and collaborative artistic practice online, and have been working on further developing Curveship, specifically Curveship-js.
The NYC Trope Tank facilitates work with community arts organizations, in recent times mainly Babycastles, and supports the demoparty Synchrony. The physical profile of the NYC Trope Tank is a small workspace, an audiovisual cart, and a collection of computer-generated literary books. Most collaborative work in New York City happens elsewhere. In recent months the NYC Trope Tank has allowed the director to develop and present of Apple II and Commodore 64 BASIC programs.
The Trope Tank also hosts projects and facilitates work by people more far-flung. In the demoscene we manifest ourselves as the group TROPE. The Trope Tank has supported other distributed projects, for instance, writing of the collaborative book 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5 + RND(1)); : GOTO 10 — authored by ten far-flung people.