Category: animism


Silicon Speech Shape

November 27th, 2011 — 10:22 pm

By modelling the geometric resonance of speech, visually expressive letterforms emerge.

The advantages of light emitting screens rather than reflective paper are obvious:

all the features of the letterform can modulate as sounded.

Diaphragm, trachea, larynx, tongue, palette, lips:

tubes that resonate to create resonance.

Language landscapes labyrinth lingual.

New letterforms grown from formulas.

Coral reefs, language, compilers, modular organs in bodies, brownian surfaces, broccoli, human brains.

“… virtually all complex systems, regardless of whether they are composed of molecules, neurons, or people, can be meaningfully described as networks.” (Olaf Sporns, Networks of the Brain. pg.29)

Saussure famously described the arbitrariness of the sign: a gap between sign, signified and referent.

That gap is reduced by digital typography.

Occasionally, the gap is erased by digital poetry.

Occasionally, language hits a singularity & dies.

Some celebrate. Some grieve.

Comments Off on Silicon Speech Shape | 3D, animism, conceptual, generative, thesis

Visual Language (Encyclopedia Pictura)

October 26th, 2011 — 05:18 pm

In my thesis, I state:

“I think visual language evolution is on a trajectory toward becoming a real-world object. The shape of these letterform objects might correspond to embodied structures: visual analogs of mathematics that arise from the acoustic resonance inside our bodies. It can be argued that much of proportional aesthetics (theories of golden mean symettry etc.) arises from embodiment, evolutionary activity over millennia etching patterns in physiognomy.

What I am suggesting is that innate shapes (geometry or topology in Thom’s terms) already exist for letterforms. They implicitly underlie our oral audible language, they are subconscious sculptures intuited from the shape of diaphragm, larynx, mouth, lips and tongue. They have been etched there by speaking. Some shapes are personal, some shapes are cross-cultural. Yet it is these shapes and vibrational presences that are being given birth and dimensional form within 3D animation, ads, and digital poetry.”

Computation provides us with unprecedented tools to implement such a vision. Perhaps the most fundamental agreement with my viewpoint comes from an unusual source: Encyclopedia Pictura are a trio of motion-graphic artists who have made extraordinary music videos for artists such as Bjork and clients like Spore.

Near the bottom of their website menu is a discrete link to a page devoted to visual language: a set of drawings and eventually doodles which outline their vision for an augmented reality application which utilizes morphological text that is relationally appropriate to the sound of the voice of the speakers.

In other words they propose precisely what I have advocated in my thesis and worked towards with works like Human–Mind–Machine. Except they have actually gone farther, providing one-to-one relationships between sounds and candidate shapes. Continue reading »

Comments Off on Visual Language (Encyclopedia Pictura) | 3D, animism, augmented, conceptual, kinetic, multimedia

Genetic Initiatives

October 26th, 2011 — 11:58 am

As far as I know, there have been 4 primary interventions that involve directly writing poetry into genes.

The first was renegade bio-artist Joe Davis’ Microvenus project. He wrote an an ancient fertility glyph into an e coli in 1996 and exhibited it at Ars Electronica 2000. For this he invented his own coding structure.

The second was Eduardo Kac’s insertion of a biblical verse (“Let man have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”) into a strand of DNA for his 1998 Genesis exhibit. In this exhibit networked viewers control a UV light which effects the rate of bacterial propogation (in other words, alters its publishing).

The third was Craig Venter who on May 20th 2010 announced that his team had created and watermarked the first self-replicating artificial organism with a codified puzzle, the names of the organism’s authors, and 3 citations, including one from James Joyce: “TO LIVE, TO ERR, TO FALL, TO TRUIMPH, TO RECREATE LIFE OUT OF LIFE”. Ominous? Perhaps. Trivial? Not at all. This shifts the definition of self-publishing.

The fourth poetic-genetic intervention, Christian Bök’s Xenotext Experiment, was proposed in 2007 and implemented in 2011; it apparently releases poetic responses (proteins encrypted in readable ways).

Each of these processes is far from creating a living language that will persist without complicated life support or function as viable technology for reading that will challenge the book or screen. Though Venter’s organism replicates; and Bök intends to splice his next verse into a very durable critter and potentially outlive humanity, there is the problem of user interface developments: how exactly do we read these texts except as interventions which challenge our conception of memory substrates?

Each project is more akin to a microbe making a tattoo on an elephant than a sustained treatise on molecular poetry. Yet these tiny revolutionary incremental splices interject imagination onto molecular substrates, intertwine the context of text with molecular biology, and anticipate a radical shift in the materiality of reading.

How does this connect to digital poetry? Rapid sequencing and subsequent manipulation of the genome emerge in parallel with computation. The genome for the first self-replicating synthetic cell was “designed in the computer”. Binary encoding processes convey the word into flesh.

Comments Off on Genetic Initiatives | animism, conceptual, genetic

Living Language

June 7th, 2011 — 11:59 pm

Richard Rorty identified philosophy as a series of turns.
Like the head of a small bird, the head of philosophy pivots around to find new concerns each generation.

In the early twentieth century, Wittgenstein’s linguistic turn precipitated a concentration on language as fundamental metaphor. In 1994, the pictorial turn (of W.T.J. Mitchell) proposed a visual generation, ocularcentric and inundated in photons. The pictorial turn is living in parallel competition (and partial completion) with many other concurrent turns: the genomic turn, the media turn, the hybrid turn, the non-linear turn, the interactive-tangible turn, the agency turn, the augmented turn and the singularity network turn.

When tavits become indiscernible from reality, where language and the pictorial meet new-media 3D-representations, there will be a re-turn toward aesthetic animism, animism without precedent: a digital animism that includes language as a proto-animal.

This will be the turn toward living language.

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TAVIT: Text Audio-Visual Interactivity

May 29th, 2011 — 12:40 pm

Digital poetry is a multimedia hybrid-art-form, a subset of visual language fusing with digital technology, increasingly mediated by networks. Contemporary poems are animated interfaces; and they often utilize dynamic interactive typography superimposed over video, generative or 3D environments. A brief list of the disciplines involved: visual art, sound composition, literature, media studies, computer programming.

Multimedia-hybrid digital poetry means that the term ‘text’ is insufficient.
Future theorists will require terminology specific to the domain, I suggest:

  • TAV (text-audio-visual)
  • TAVT (a tav in a 3D territory)
  • TAVIT (an interactive tavt)

I have no illusions or expectations that these terms will achieve widespread adoption, but am certain that some terms like these will of necessity emerge to concisely and accurately convey the difference between text, tav, tavt and tavit.

Suggested use: “That was an amazing tavit!”, “The intertavituality of these works is self-evident”

This post is the first in a series that explore ideas contained in my thesis drafts.
I recently returned from presenting this material at E-Poetry 2011. (Download presentation: pdf / ppt ).
Subsequent posts will unravel more details.

Feedback is welcomed.

Comments Off on TAVIT: Text Audio-Visual Interactivity | animism, conceptual, thesis