Three shots of the two main rooms of the MIT Trope Tank, with Commodore 64s, an Atari VCS, an Asteroids Machine, several Macs and a NeXTCube, and lots of books, software, and manuals.
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’s founder and director is Nick Montfort.

Recent Exhibit: Hops Ahead: The Art of Alternate Histories, Presents, and Futures was in the MIT Trope Tank September 21–29 2023. The interactive narrative artworks exhibited are listed and linked online.

The MIT Trope Tank (pictured above) is in room 14E-316, on the third floor of the east wing of MIT’s Building 14. (Location warning! This is not in “E14,” but in Building 14, the same building that houses the Hayden Library.) Established in 2007 as a research group in what is now Comparative Media Studies/Writing, The MIT Trope Tank has been a place for class visits, collaborative research, poetic and artistic work, and community meetings. 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 students conducted research and collaborative artistic practice online, and worked on further developing Curveship, specifically Curveship-js.

The NYC Trope Tank (pictured at the very bottom of the page) has facilitated work with community arts organizations and Synchrony for the five years it ran. The physical profile of the NYC Trope Tank is a small workspace and a collection of computer-generated literary books. In recent months the NYC Trope Tank has allowed the director to develop Apple II and Commodore 64 BASIC programs and to present them online. It has also enabled bibliographic work using Montfort’s computer-generated book collection.

The Trope Tank hosts projects 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 people.

People, 2023–2024


Our TROPE REPORT Series of Technical Reports

Allied Labs + Studios

The NYC Trope Tank

The NYC Trope Tank at Montfort and Klink’s apartment, with a Commodore 64 and an Apple //c; the impromptu book press used by Bad Quarto is on the left.