TDCKaren ann Donnachie + Andy Simionato
RGB Prize
Karen ann Donnachie + Andy Simionato

The Library of Nonhuman Books

Karen ann Donnachie + Andy Simionato|The Library of Nonhuman Books
Karen ann Donnachie + Andy Simionato|The Library of Nonhuman Books

These books were not designed by humans. They were autonomously generated by our custom-coded reading-machine using Artificial Intelligence.

Our reading-machine begins by using Computer Vision and Optical Character Recognition to identify the text on any open book placed under it’s dual-cameras, before leveraging Machine Learning and

Natural Language Processing to select a short poetic combination of words on the page which it saves, while digitally erasing all other words. The reading-machine then searches for an illustration from the Google Image Archive to ‘illuminate’ the page based on the meanings of the remaining words.

Once every page in the book has been read, interpreted, and illuminated, the system automatically publishes the results using an Internet printing service, and the resulting volume is finally added to the Library of Nonhuman Books. From the moment our machine begins ‘reading’, until the delivery of the book from the print-on-demand service, our automated-art-system proceeds without the intervention of humans.

The machine can produce a multitude of unique ‘illuminated scripts’ from any physical book, each one revealing new meanings that were always there in the original, but have remained hidden until that moment.

In a time where books are being transformed into clouds of words, this project helps them find new bodies that lie somewhere between the human and machine worlds. A publishing experiment for our post-literate society, which increasingly defers its reading to nonhuman counterparts.

We are honoured to receive the Tokyo Type Directors Club Award for the Library of Nonhuman Books. It is a unique opportunity to share our work with our peers in an international context, with the hope we can continue re-imaging the futures of the book together.

Karen ann Donnachie + Andy Simionato

Karen ann Donnachie + Andy Simionato

Karen ann Donnachie and Andy Simionato work in the fields of computer vision, human-machine mark-making and typography. Since the early 2000s, alongside their polivalent studio practice, they have published the award winning experimental art periodical This is a Magazine (about nothing) and later the imprint Atomic Activity Books. Their work has been exhibited internationally including the Milan Design Triennale (Italy), and is widely published including Princeton Architectural Press’ “Come Together: The Rise of Cooperative Art and Design” (2014). They are based in Melbourne, Australia, where, alongside their studio practice they also teach art and design at RMIT University.