DaShenPo – Virtual Fortune Telling Machine


With lots of refinement this concept might make a fun iPhone app., very fitting to the short attention span required for many experiences on smartphones (2013).

Influenced by the work of popular web artists Yugo Nakamora (http://www.yugop.com) and Joshua Davis (http://www.praystation.com), I created a whimsical virtual fortune telling machine (app.) called DaShenPo (DaShenPo meant a woman of your mothers age, an auntie.)

What interests me about algorithmic art is that I can create a piece of logic — a set routine, procedure, or notation — of varying complexity, which when given data can produce the same results time and time again. For me, these results could be music, visual art, or ideally a combination of the two. What makes this truly useful and ultimately most interesting is when you start changing the data variables in this piece of logic. Depending on the type of routine, procedure, or notation that was written this could very quickly produce an enormous variety of unique results. As an example, in music you can take a known melodic pattern, like a children’s melody, change three basic variables like key signature, time signature, and tempo and you can create a new composition based on the same melodic pattern notation.

My goal was to create something simple, entertaining and fun – an online “Virtual Fortune Telling Machine”. A product that perhaps a wider audience might appreciate than abstract online art. It is loosely based on both Chinese fortune cookies and the Chinese astrological calendar. Both of which were the only watered down and fun representations I had growing up of Chinese culture. The Fortune Telling Machine allowed each user to enter their date of birth and receive a unique result based on the data that they entered. The result they would receive would be a rich media experience created in Flash containing both music and animated elements. It’s meant to be fun and as such the fortunes displayed are entirely random and nonsensical. The animation and music are independent elements generated by the users date of birth. The year of birth is categorized around the Chinese astrological calendar which produces 12 different animated templates. The month of birth determines the music of which there would be 12 different compositions. The day of birth data is ignored by the application. This would create 144 different possibilities in addition to random text. The random text was drawn from a database of pre-created fortunes.