Perpetual Storytelling Apparatus
Honorary Mention Interactive Art
“Perpetual Storytelling Apparatus” is a method and device revealing the relations between inventions by crawling through millions of patents and their references.
Patents are manifested thoughts or goals of the inventor, thus reflecting the mindset society had at a certain point in time. Much like scientific papers, patent documents contain references to so-called “prior art”—thus pointing to the principles the invention is based on.
There are about 25 million references for the over 7.5 million patents issued.
Because patents contain references, it is possible to find a path from one patent to another. This principle corresponds to the “six degrees of separation theory” (or small world phenomenon), according to which any person in the world is connected to any other person by a surprisingly short chain of acquaintanceships.
Applied to patents, the approximate level of separation is about seven nodes.
The machine’s mechanism reproduces the patents and their relations in a never-ending stream of semantically connected drawings. Surprising connections between seemingly unrelated objects and ideas emerge.