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Rebecca Cottrell

MA work

Emergent comic strip

Swatted is a collection of six-frame tragicomedies, based on using principles of emergent design to drive the narrative. Rules shape behaviour and outcome. A gap between rules – the absence of a rule, something that is left undefined – is an opportunity for emergence. An emergent comic strip is a computational approach to authoring a story, where a human plays the role of a computer following a programme.

An emergent comic strip uses rules to structure and partially define stories. In Swatted, each story has the same tragic outcome – the protagonist dies at some point in the six-frame narrative. How the protagonist dies isn’t defined, and a different story emerges each time within the structure of the rules, and from within the spaces. Chance plays a role in the story structure; the length of the fly’s life, already very short over a maximum of six panels, is controlled by a dice roll. 


  • MA Degree


    School of Communication


    MA Visual Communication, 2019



  • I'm a designer and visual artist interested in computational thinking applied within arts contexts, story-physics, and experimental narrative.

  • Degrees

  • BA Graphic Communication, Reading University; MSc Human-Computer Interaction, University College London