Perpetual Storytelling Apparatus (DE)



Patent database, software, and drawing machine

Julius von Bismarck and Benjamin Maus (DE)


The Perpetual Storytelling Apparatus is a drawing machine illustrating a never-ending story through the use of patent drawings. The machine translates words of a text (e.g. a novel) into a stream of patent drawings. Eight million patents—linked by over 22 million references—form the vocabulary. The apparatus takes a combination of words in the story and searches for a patent document whose text contains those words. Then it extracts the main drawing from the patent document and draws it. Advancing in the story, it finds the next patent document. Between the newfound patent and the previously drawn patent, the patents that connect the two are drawn in between. These connections form a subtext. New visual connections and narrative layers emerge through the interweaving of the story with the depiction of technical developments. This process repeats, ingesting one story after another, and generates an endless stream of patent drawings.

The first two instances of the Perpetual Storytelling Apparatus use the database of the US Patent and Trademark Office. The third apparatus, which has recently been installed at the German Patent Office in Munich, uses the entire backlog of patents applied for in Germany.


Artist Bio:

Benjamin Maus
Benjamin Maus was born in 1984. Early in his life he started taking apart apparatuses and learned programming. He studied at the University of the Arts in Berlin and founded the studio FELD. He is self-taught in many disciplines and likes to work with technology while questioning its usefulness.

Julius von Bismarck
Julius von Bismarck (b. 1983) grew up in Riad (Saudi Arabia) and Berlin, where he currently lives and works. He studied Visual Communication and Fine Arts in New York and Berlin. In 2013 he graduated from Olafur Eliasson’s Institute for Spatial Experiments as Meisterschüler. His work method varies and generates apparatuses, installations, sculptures, videos, photographs, and performances. Von Bismarck studies allegedly scientifically justified explanations of the human realm of experience. His work exposes and interferes with these culturally constructed realities. His works are included in numerous solo and group shows at galleries, museums and biennials. He has received several awards, among them the Prix A.E. Collide at CERN in 2012 with a conjunct residency at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).