Why Some Dolls Are Bad – a graphic novel for Facebook by Kate Armstrong

Why Some Dolls Are Bad
A Graphic Novel for Facebook
By Kate Armstrong

About :
Why Some Dolls Are Bad is a dynamically generated graphic novel by Kate Armstrong. Built on the Facebook platform, the work assembles a stream of images from Flickr that match certain tags and dynamically mixes them with original text in order to produce a perpetually changing narrative.

Users who add the application in Facebook can capture pages from the novel and save, reorder, and distribute them.

The novel engages themes of ethics, fashion, artifice and the self, and presents a re-examination of systems and materials including mohair, contagion, environmental decay, Perspex cabinetry, and false-seeming things in nature such as Venus Flytraps.

How Does it Work?
Why Some Dolls Are Bad is a graphic novel built as a Facebook application. To experience it in its native environment, you will need to add the application to your Facebook account, where it will appear on your profile.

It operates by streaming images and text into a frame on your profile page. The image and text combine to create a page in the book.

As you read, advance to the next page by clicking “Next Page”. A new text and image combination will be loaded. Since the novel is dynamically generated, you will never see the same page twice.

If you like the page you are reading and would like to save it, click “Capture”. Pages you capture can be saved, shared, or collected into chapters.

Kate Armstrong:
Kate Armstrong is an artist and writer with interest in networks, social media, urban space, poetics, and computation. Her work examines tensions between digital and analogue systems, and looks to bring digital structures – both functional and metaphorical – into low-fi models and physical spaces as a way to interrogate contemporary culture. She is engaged with text and experimental narrative, especially open forms that bring poetics and computational function together. In the past this has taken a variety of forms including net art, psychogeography, installation, audio, performance, painting, and robotics.

Armstrong is the Director of Upgrade! Vancouver, which is part of the Upgrade! International network. She has taught at Emily Carr Institute and holds a position at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology in the Faculty of Applied Science at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.

Kate Armstrong: http://www.katearmstrong.com
Why Some Dolls Are Bad: http://www.cornerdata.org/dolls
To locate the application on Facebook, search “Why Some Dolls Are Bad”, then click “Add this Application”.


  • Emma says:

    Hello- Thought this might be of interest.

    Gallery Aferro
    Newark NJ

    Biological Imperative curated by Emma Wilcox
    on display June 14-July 26, 2008, with full color catalog

    Submissions due April 15, 2008

    Artists working in any and all media are invited to submit existing work, or propose new work, in response to any of the following:

    Things that just won’t die, multiples, fecundity, regeneration, splicing, graft, hybridization, miscegenation, do it yourself genetic testing kits, “she’s not my sister she’s my daughter”, “one drop,” 3/5 of a person, genetically modified foods, bio art, the prosecution of bio artists, the undead, the semi-living, Jonestown, the elderly woman who got a DNR order tattooed on her chest, the undying popularity of zombie films, Scopolamine, and of course, well, bunny rabbits.

    Blackhorrormovies.com, according to its creator, Mark H. Harris,” is the culmination of my life experiences as a black horror movie fan: seeing hundreds of black people stabbed, chopped up, and eviscerated without so much as a “rest in peace” or even a “sorry, my bad,” and finding scant acknowledgment of the role of black people in horror films (Zombies anyone?)”

    The Tissue Culture & Art Project is a collective dealing with “serious ethical questions regarding a near future when objects that are partly alive and partly constructed exist, and when animal organs will be transplanted into humans. What kind of relationships we will form with such objects? How are we going to treat animals with human DNA?”

    In 1965’s “How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare” Joseph Beuys held a dead hare in his arms and walked around an art gallery talking about art to the animal. Rabbits function as food, pest and pet for humans, and symbolize something that dies again and again, only to be reborn.

    Submissions due April 15.
    Notification of acceptance by May 1.
    Delivery by May 24.
    Materials for catalog may be requested earlier than work delivery.


    Please refer to exhibition guidelines on website

    Please email work to or mail work to
    Emma Wilcox Gallery Aferro 248 Sherman Ave #43 NY NY 10034

  • Chris Joseph says:

    Thanks Emma, I’ll put this up as a post!


  • Huysmans says:

    I’m sorry I couldn’t respond to this earlier but I wanted to say thank you for directing me in this direction, I am currently working on constructing a thesis in regards to the literary potential of blogs and having this type of literature as a resource for discussing the potential of social software in general has been very help. Not to mention that these images generated a rather engaging and witty.

    Also love your blog in general and have benefited from your posts,

    Thanks and please visit my blog to let me know what you think.


  • Chris Joseph says:

    Hi Huysmans, I’ve responded directly on your blog but thanks again! I’ll be very interested to see how your thesis develops…