THE TROPE TANK

Developing new poetic practices and new understandings of digital media by focusing on the material, formal, and historical aspects of computation and language.

Logo for the Slant project The Slant project is an international collaboration to further develop our large-scale automatic story generator. Slant’s components work together on a blackboard to develop a story representation, which is realized by Curveship. Slant is an inquiry into literary creativity and a poetic contribution.
Logo for the Renderings project The Renderings project focuses on translating highly computational and otherwise unusual literature into English. We not only employ established literary translation techniques, but also consider how computation and language interact. Literary and computational experts worldwide participate.
In addition to our two major projects, the Trope Tank supports a variety of research, teaching, and creative production. The lab is directed by Prof. Nick Montfort and located in the Massachusets Institute of Technology in room 14N-233. To see what we've been up to lately, read the 2013-2014 Trope Tank Annual Report. (There's also one from 2012-2013.)
Comparative Media Studies & Writing
People's Republic of Interactive Fiction
Electronic Literature Organization
Purple Blurb
The Trope Tank hosts postdoctoral and undergraduate researchers, student visits from various classes, codefests, and other sorts of events and collaborations. The monthly meetings of the People's Republic of Interactive Fiction take place in The Trope Tank, as does some of the work of the Electronic Literature Organization, which is located across the hall. The Purple Blurb series of presentations of digital writing originated in the modest space of the Trope Tank. The series became established as an official activity of, initially, MIT's Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, and now MIT's Comparative Media Studies & Writing.
Home computers and videogame systems ready for use in the Trope Tank
Home computers and videogame systems ready for use in the Trope Tank
Prof. Nick Montfort standing by the Asteroids machine in the Trope Tank
Prof. Nick Montfort in the Trope Tank · Photo by Steve McLaughlin

People

In-house researchers from semesters past:

Slant collaborators, 2013–

Racing the Beam and Platform Studies series collaborator, 2007–

The Deletionist collaborators, 2011–2013

10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 collaborators, 2010-2013

Tools for the Telling collaborators, 2007-2008

Purple Blurb guest organizers:

"Trope Report" Series of Technical Reports

  1. TROPE-12-01 - The Trivial Program "yes" (Nick Montfort)
  2. TROPE-12-02 - XS, S, M, XL: Creative Text Generators of Different Scales (Nick Montfort)
  3. TROPE-12-03 - Creative Material Computing in a Laboratory Context (Nick Montfort and Natalia Fedorova)
  4. TROPE-12-04 - Carrying across Language and Code (Nick Montfort and Natalia Fedorova)
  5. TROPE-13-01 - Electronic Literature for All: Performance in Exhibits and Public Readings (Clara Fernández-Vara)
  6. TROPE-13-02 - Videogame Editions for Play and Study (Clara Fernández-Vara and Nick Montfort)
  7. TROPE-13-03 - No Code: Null Programs (Nick Montfort)

Collection

A catalog of materials in the Trope Tank (hardware & software) is now avaialable.

Hardware and software catalog

Researchers interested in computer and video games, electronic literature (including interactive fiction, hypertext fiction, and digital poetry), home computing and hobbyist programming, or related topics are welcome to contact Nick for access to the collection of materials, computers, and video game systems that is housed in the Trope Tank.

Address

The Trope Tank, MIT
77 Massachusetts Ave, Room 14N-233
Cambridge, MA 02139

Directions

The Trope Tank is at MIT in Building 14, the same building that is the home of the Hayden Library. The room number is 14N-233; this is in the north wing on the second floor. After finding building 14, come in — the entrance on the northeast side, next to the large black steel Calder sculpture, is the closest one to the Trope Tank. Once inside, take the stairs or elevator up to the second floor. The Trope Tank is not inside the library; it is in the wing across the courtyard from it.