Ad Generator, fake ads generated by a machine

Alexis Loyd

How does generative art relate to semiotic? Does the randomic association between the signifier and the signified blur the process of meaning construction? If you adehere to the interpretative perspective, that includes the context as well as the interpreteur as parts of the communication process, it doesn’t. Thus the randomic association between images and words generated by a machine does make sense. This is the concept that hides behind the Ad Generator, a generative artwork that explores how advertising uses and manipulates language, created by Alexis Lloyd as part of her thesis project at Parsons The New School for Design. Alexis Loyd is an interactive designer, information architect, and new media artist whose work includes interaction design, social networking software, and data-driven multimedia art. The Ad Generator shows her interest in the ways in which collections and databases can reveal patterns of meaning, and in creating tools that allow people to interact with information and each other in innovative ways. In this artwork, in fact, words and semantic structures from real corporate slogans are remixed and randomized to generate invented slogans. These slogans are then paired with related images from Flickr, according to their tags, thereby generating fake advertisements on the fly. The aim of the project is to show how the language of advertising is both deeply meaningful and meningless: on the one hand, in fact, it represents real cultural values and desires, while on the other these ideas have no relationship to the products being sold. Unlike some generators, this one requires no inputs from the user, although if you’d like to capture the images, you have to be somewhat quick: there’s no way to “stop” the ads from being generated every 3 seconds or so, a feature that is just as well annoying as the landscape of advertising itself. Watching this nevereneding sequence of ads it’s natural asking how long it will take before real advertising creative is done by algorithm? Based on the quality of some of the results, this practise could be in act right now.

Valentina Culatti