Media Lab Helsinki


Bot Alchemy

If man improvises within a set of rules, then her nature can be described by a bot.

In BOT ALCHEMY the ideas of Crucible Studio alchemists, who develop non-linear narratives, intermingle with each other and those of the Norms, a linear thinking tribe of a black & white forest. Crucible researchers have themselves scripted their bot representatives to the world of the Norms. The user can mix characters to have conversations that evolve through each encounter, as the bots learn each other’s vocabulary.

What is Bot Alchemy?

Bot Alchemy is an experimental production developed by Douwe-Sjoerd Boschman (Digital Media Designer, Utrecht School of Arts, Netherlands) during his internship in Crucible Studio. An experiment to see what semi-random generated speech can do for interactive database narratives.

The storyworld…

Bot Alchemy is an interactive explorative story space…

… set in an ‘utopian’ world

… where everything is as linear as possible

… ’Norms’, the normal grey people, live in large tall birch trees without branches (everything is linear).

… a Norm makes no choices, asks no questions, doesn’t communicate.

Their say: “Just do your thing, move forward and don’t look back!”

… any form of interactivity is taboo

… except for the more progressive orange people gathered in Crucible Studio.

The user can let these two tribes of the Norms and the Crucibles talk to each other in their trees.

They exchange vocabulary while they talk. Crucible’s ideas about a more communicative interactive life are heard, the world starts to change, branches start to grow and Norms start to adapt to the orange people in their talk and become orange too.

By playing around with the different bot-characters and hereby mixing ‘personalities’ interesting storylines might develop in the black & white forest of the Norms.

Go to practice Bot Alchemy!


Douwe-Sjoerd Boschman



Bot Alchemy is developed by:

Douwe-Sjoerd Boschman (concept, script, visuals, interaction design & programming)

Mika “Lumi” Tuomola (concept, script – Artistic Director)

Leena Saarinen (script, bot talk-logic)

Music from Myths for One (Crucible Studio / University of Art and Design Helsinki 2001, dir. Mika Tuomola) by Niina Saarelainen.

Crucible bot-character scripts

‘Ari’- Ari Kivimäki

‘Douwe’ – Douwe-Sjoerd Boschman

‘Helena’ – Helena Hyvärinen

‘Juhani’ – Juhani Tenhunen

‘Leena’ – Leena Saarinen

‘Lumi’ – Mika “Lumi” Tuomola

‘Maureen’ – Maureen Thomas

‘Miikka’ – Miikka Junnila

‘Minna’ – Minna Nurminen

‘Robert’ – Robert Ahonius

‘Topias’ – Topias Marttila

Music from Myths for One (Crucible Studio / University of Art and Design Helsinki 2001, dir. Mika Tuomola) by Niina Saarelainen.

Special thanks to: Topias Marttila, Rasmus Vuori, Heli Rantavuo, Ida Blekeli and Arto Kellokoski.