Exploratory Generative Study | Once Upon A Huh?


Once Upon A Huh?

Chosen Medium:

Text, HTML + CSS + JS coding (Web Project)



Open-sourced parody Fairy Tale storytelling through random options chosen by the reader. The story will be click-to-advance, but it is solely based on text on a web browser, the next section of the story to be revealed only when the reader chooses their option. Each option will lead to a different segment of the story.


The reader will determine the outcome of the story based on the random and vague choices made during the process of the storytelling. (hence being sort of choose-your-own-adventure),



Snow White decided to accept the old lady’s offer to buy an apple. She has to choose an apple.

  • The red and ripe one
  • The one that has a slight yellow tinge to it
  • The one with a worm crawling out of it

[Reader selects option 3]

Just when Snow White picks the apple with the worm crawling out of it up, there was a sudden shriek—unexpectedly from the worm who seemed to have a personality.

Snow White jumped in shock, fumbling with the apple. She frowned at the old lady.

“What did you do that for!” She scowled, her dark brows furrowing in displeasure. “I bought an apple from you and all you do is scream at me? Here you can take it back,” she chucked the apple at the old lady’s face and hurried to push the lady out of the doorway of the little cottage she shared with the seven dwarves.

The old lady protested in muffled gibberish, hoping she could explain that the scream certainly did not come from her, but Snow White was not having any of it.

“Take your stupid apples and go away, I don’t want to see your face ever again,” she snapped, slamming the door shut on the confused old lady.


Reference/ Inspiration:

Doki Doki Literature Club


Doki Doki Literature Club Review - Gamereactor

Yuri's death scene (ddlc) doki doki literature club - YouTube

Your choices don’t matter; they will give you an unexpected surprise anyway.

Somewhere Else, Another You


Tusitala Interactive: Somewhere Else, Another You - TusitalaTusitala

Tusitala Interactive: Somewhere Else, Another You - TusitalaTusitala

Make your own decisions but the story is still not within your control anyway.


How is it a Generative Art:

The reader decides the course of the story based on total randomness with no hint about what could possibly happen next. The next part of the story is hence completely random, and will possibly surprise the reader. Choosing a decision in a story might give you the illusion that you are controlling your own fate and deciding how the narrative goes, but in the end you realize that you are still left in the unknown, with lots of unanswered questions and unfulfilled expectations. While it is calculated which decisions will lead to which answers, but as the participant you will never know which decisions will lead to which answers.

Reading 2: Amplifying The Uncanny | Response


Amplifying the Uncanny

by Terence Broad, Frederic Fol Leymarie, Mick Grierson

Pushing the limits of Perfection:

The relationship between Generative Art and the uncanny is their ability to create something unexpected from a given set of data, and then generating further distortion at greater emphasis; kind of like evolution. In deepfakes, “machines [are] optimised to make representations that are more realistic, they also generate information on whether or not a generated image is fake.” However, the cool part of this is that even though these machines can be so precise, they can end up unexpectedly making the generated image less precise; it becomes distorted because the machine is constantly improving and sharpening the accuracy of any “out of place” element on an art piece or photo. As the machine does not have human limitations imposed on it, it does not know when to stop. This unpredictability of how far the machine can push the limits of distortion can be seen as a form of generative art.

Evolution into Unpredictability through “Over-learning”:

In the text, “Machine Learning” is also introduced, where it “generates patterns in data… to predict future data or other outcomes of interest”, with the mindset of “solving” a pre-defined objective. In the text, Mackenzie also reminds us that machine learning is about the knowledge-practice and not knowledge-consciousness. In other words, it is the repeated process of the same thing over and over again by the machine which provides greater accuracy and precision of a desired outcome (as they have no brain to think and be conscious about the details they are producing). This is a form of growing, compared to the usual programming and coding of specific instructions for machines to execute. I think that this is significant in explaining how vast generative art can be; when a machine “grows”, it does so by self-improvement through previous data created but when there is no “stop button”, it becomes unpredictable and beyond our physical calculations since it is also endless. The unpredictable results become an art form that we could not have foreseen.

The Elimination of “Zombie Art” through the Unknown:

However, it is mentioned that there is public perception that GAN generated artwork is also considered “zombie art”. It is said that there is a reliance on deep neural networks to produce neverending variations based on one sample of information fed into the system, but this system of construction is not meaningful. Even though it can seem mesmerising at first, it can eventually become monotonous after a while because viewers will start to feel overwhelmed by the “sublime of algorithmic productivity”. I agree with this standpoint because we have such short attention span. When something is too repetitive, we can “predict” what is generally going to happen next and end up not chasing the information further; since it is no longer an “unknown” that we are curious about. As people are usually lazy and will not want to do meaningless things which is why we leave it to the machines instead. However, if the growth is something that is unpredictable, it will not be meaningless and instead be intriguing. However, we are then left in puzzlement with regards to how to make something precise (since most digital artworks with auto-generation relies on pre-calculated equations) and yet not monotone.

What is the Fine Line for Humanity?:

I think that it is also interesting that the authors of this text explored what it meant to be at unease due to uncanniness; they defined it as the state where the fine line is just crossed between what is living and what is machine. When something does not resemble human to a large extreme, it is easy to regard it as fake and objective, but when something lies in between, we start to become confused about the identity and origin of the object and become uncertain about how we should classify the subject. It is familiar, yet unfamiliar and expected, yet unexpected. In the text, the Uncanny Valley is also mentioned, where “increasing human likeness increases feelings of familiarity up to a point, before suddenly decreasing”. As a robot’s similarity to human form increases, it is proportional to the unsettling feeling we will feel until the similarity becomes so much it is determined to be fake.

What Is the Uncanny Valley? - IEEE Spectrum

The Uncanny Valley

This makes me ponder about the threshold of human consciousness and comfort. It feels like we seek comfort from things that looks “average” or “just right” and anything too extreme on either ends of the spectrum is deemed unacceptable to our comfort zone. Is this possibly also why people are uncomfortable staring at physically handicapped people or people with eating disorders for a long period of time; because they fall outside the threshold of “normal” and what is “expected”? Can we then conclude that in generative art, things become art when they fall outside the threshold of what our expectations are? Does this mean that since different people have different expectations as we are all individuals, our perception of what is considered generative art is then altered according to that logic?

In the end, is Generative Art a matter of perception, and could it be calculated yet intriguing (not monotonous)?


Closed systems: Generative Art and Software Abstraction by Marius Watz | Reflection Essay



Closed systems: Generative Art and Software Abstraction

by Marius Watz

While generative art is usually associated with pixels, it is not a compulsory criterion. It is also not necessary to be interactive, even though it is commonly open sourced. The most important factor of Generative art is its unpredictability, and its system of “growing” from given information.

Watz states that “Forms produced by generative systems often take on a complex nature, exploiting principles of emergence to produce structures that could not be made by human hands.” I agree with this statement; to me, the beauty of generative art is how precise, random and unpredictable it can be, and this is usually associated with numbers. This is very different from creating something from scratch, such as with clay or paintings. There is a lot more calculation and precision work involved. Then again, it should not be misunderstood that generative art can only come in the form of digital work.

Watz also mentions that it is difficult to simulate organic behaviour through computation, yet at the same time it helps in the virtual simulation due to the computer’s ability to generate and replicate the same sequence of code over and over again in an array without manual input. In this sense I think this is interesting because while it sounds like generative art is a double-edged sword with irony to top it off; it can be so precise but unnatural if you are not precise enough.

To add on, without the existence of computation, people would not even be open to the idea of generative art, as it is too tedious to execute while incorporating subtle changes to signify the growth of the art piece.

A common conception brought up is how the birth of generative art signifies the death of interactive art, as it in a way dampens the experience of open sourced art because the art can generate by itself when it is computational.

However, I feel that this conception is a misunderstanding because generative art is not necessarily digital, and even if it is digital it can also be open sourced. There are just many different types of generative art that is not limited to automated digitalization.

Ultimately generative art, while being heavily linked to software and digitalization, it is not about what the computer can do. Generative art is more about how real-time and self-contained art is still a form of art even if it is digital. Digitalization does not represent a loss in art; it is an addition to the scope and variety of how art can be portrayed. We should ultimately not see art done with software as an evil but as a different art form.

Generative Art Example: Smoke Water Fire 2016


Smoke Water Fire (2016)

by Mark J. Stock

Smoke Water Fire is a digital video that represents a virtual simulation of fluid flow. This piece can also be viewed in VR. It is rendered in 360-3D format, and rendered using Radiance,  synthetic lighting simulation software. This artwork highlights the dynamics of fluid flow and its universality. With no name plastered on the visual simulation and its changes, it gives us freedom to decide how we perceive fluid flow in this virtual simulation. The conventional perception is stripped, and we are given the autonomy to understand how fluidity actually works- through dynamic, ever-changing flow.

This artwork is interesting to me because it plays around with the perception of depth, as well as generative and degenerative elements in its digital simulation. It is a generative piece because we cannot really predict where the next change of motion of the “fluid” will take place at. Simply by subtracting or adding elements to its code, a fairly accurate depiction of fluid flow can be created and I think this is pretty cool. Just because we are dealing with numbers and code does not mean that we cannot create an actual visual representation of something very real and natural to us. Additionally, I think that it is interesting that that is an irony that an accurate depiction of something so natural is done using something so calculated (albeit random).

I feel that it relates to my own creative interests because I am someone who likes to deal with surprises and unpredictability when it comes to creation. I also like telling stories. I know they contradict each other because stories usually follow a linear storyline whereas unpredictability does not exactly fall into that line of thought. However, having an unpredictable motion that gels a whole story together in the most unexpected but pleasant way is something I like to work with, which I also feel is present in this work. In a way, this art work can be depicted as the story of fluid; where it tells us the journey of how a fluid develops and moves through its existence.