exquisite_code is an algorithmic performance system for heterogeneous groups of writers.
The writers are fed a sequence of prompts on short timed intervals (6 - 20 minutes), supervised by a Proctor.
The core of the system is a piece of software which accepts multiple chunks of text for modification and combination into a single linear narrative. The work is informed by the Surrealist "Exquisite Corpse", William Burroughs' "Cut-Up" and Oulipo methods. The edit machine worms its way through the bodies of disparate texts, cutting, moving and replacing words. Like non-automatic editing, the redaction process is iterative, where modified texts are sometimes returned to the author for further refinement. The edit-worm may frustrate writers but it produces an output that would not be possible in a system of complete authorial control.
The software consists of a web-based application which is coded using open source frameworks written in the Python programming language. The text manipulation algorithms are based on research in Natural Language Processing algorithms and statistical analysis.
exquisite_code has been performed several times in different countries. The London life-novel is published by Mute.
The exquisite_code web-site has documentation, text and source code.