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Cultural Roots for Computing:The Case of African Diasporic Orature and Computational Narrative in the GRIOT System

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Author(s): D. Fox Harrell

Journal: Fibreculture Journal
ISSN 1449-1443

Issue: 11;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: computers and culture | computational narratives | African diasporic traditions

ABSTRACT
Cultural practices and values are implicitly built into all computational systems. However, it is not common to develop systems with explicit critical engagement with, and foundations in, cultural practices and values aside from those traditionally privileged in discourse surrounding computing practices. I assert that engaging commonly excluded cultural values and practices can potentially spur computational innovation, and can invigorate expressive computational production. In particular, diverse ways of representing and manipulating semantic content and distinctive relationships between humans and our (digital) artifacts can form the basis for new technical and expressive computing practices. This idea is developed using the example of the GRIOT system. GRIOT is a platform for implementing interactive and generative computational narratives. Its underlying theoretical bases are in algebraic semantics from computer science, cognitive linguistics, and semiotics. Initial systems built in GRIOT enable generation of poetry in response to user input. GRIOT is deeply informed by African diasporic traditions of orature and socio-cultural engagement.

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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