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Aarhus Urban Operating System (AaUOS)

Research output: Non-textual formInteractive productionResearch


Aarhus Urban Operating System is situated as a parasitic ‘flipside’ of the ELO 2021 conference website, where you’ll find a chatroom populated by e-literary bots that are trained to be connoisseurs of certain aspects of the city of Aarhus. The bots of Aarhus Urban Operating System are based on equal parts handcrafted conversation trees and recurrent neural networks. Each bot is a character in a metropolitan drama, from the head of the tourist department to the local bog body, the Grauballe Man (who you’ll get to know by interacting with the work).

The RNN models are trained on texts about Aarhus as it is in its present and also about its past, and also urban development plans that represent an increasingly gentrified Aarhus that, according to urban developers, is just around the corner. The work also entails multimedial content, from images to sounds. The sounds were recorded locally in Aarhus as part of an earlier version of the work, which this new chatroom-inflicted version is based upon. When coupled with our idiosyncratic and unapologetically Aarhus-centric bot-making techniques, the work results in an Anti-Mimesis of Aarhus, as the now-deceased but locally legendary Aarhus-based literary critic Niels Egebak would have had it.

By creating an interface that connects these generative corporate visions and city-imaginaries with a virtual conference on electronic literature, Aarhus Urban Operating System sustains an e-literary encounter with emergent imaginaries of Aarhus, stemming collaboratively from local city developers, a machine learning algorithm, playful imitative writing practices, and an international community of scholars. In the case of AaUOS, the work makes for an unstable and emergent poiesis of a gathering that could have been, situated in the imaginary of an Aarhus that might still become, saturated with multimedial debris gathered around the city.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year25 May 2021
Media of outputInternet
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2021
EventELO 2021 Platform (Post?) Pandemic - Aarhus Universitet, Universitetet i Bergen, Aarhus & Bergen, Norway
Duration: 24 May 202128 May 2021


ConferenceELO 2021 Platform (Post?) Pandemic
LocationAarhus Universitet, Universitetet i Bergen
CityAarhus & Bergen
Internet address

    Research areas

  • bots, Machine learning, Urban development, Electronic literature, digital art

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