“Nomen Sacrum Trial” by Sylvanus Shaw

Open “Nomen Sacrum Trial” by Sylvanus Shaw

This “psychometric trial” prompts readers to explore their sacred name through manipulation of the “lettered sieve” an infinite set of language constructed as follows:

For the following trial, imagine the alphabet, followed by, in alphabetical order, all permutations of pairs of letters of the alphabet, followed by all permutations of triples of letters of the alphabet, followed by quadruples, and so on for quintuples, sextuples, and so on. Let us call this infinite set of letters a ‘Lettered Sieve.’ Possessing a working concept of the Lettered Sieve is essential to completing the first seven parts of the trial.

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“Essay” by judsoN

Screen capture from "Essay" by judsoN.  Image of a typical online article. Black text against a white background. Text: "Revolving around identity: Object Indoctrinating our Control/ 2008, Regina De Boulange, M.A., Ph.D, boulange@yale.edu/ KEYWORDS: education, thought, pluralistic, thought, qulia, subverting, signifying/ INTRODUCTION/ Several errors locally commodify in our professional, and some symptomatic systems are experimental. Manifold replacements seamlessly involve. The vector-time basedly sends no anxiousness experimentally. Their semantic is the distinction. Should their objectively fakely fornicate the language, while their magnificent lust urbanly communicates with byte?/ A marketshare rules, and result hoods reify with whom? Contemporary signifiers publicly condemn need drenchedly, although the synthesized arts consult globally
Open “Essay” by judsoN

This work of generative Internet art presents an essay to readers that reads like an essay written by a graduate student that has done nothing but read Postmodern theory for years. The result might be brilliant, nonsensical— perhaps both— but it exists on a different reality as the rest of the world’s and is likely to have little impact on anything. You might as well pump all that high theory into a machine and put together a little program to produce some semi-random output from that lexicon and then see if readers will read the results at face value.

For this piece to have any function at all, requires a mind that is eager to project meaning onto experience. If we expect an experience to be meaningless, our minds certainly do not bother to piece together the chaos of clues that make the world comprehensible. With Chomsky’s famous pseudo-sentence “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.” for example, we undergo an initial attempt to identify a meaningful message. Convincing the mind to choose at the crossroads between potential comprehensibility and inevitable noise is an important task.

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“Every Word I Saved” series by Cristobal Mendoza

Screen capture from "Every Word I Saved" series by Cristobal Mendoza. Photograph of a screen with the words "first", "fireworks", "firewall", firefox", "faceboook", "fino", "finish", "fingers", and "fine" repeated numerous times.
Open “Every Word I Saved” series by Cristobal Mendoza

This series of installations are poetic visualizations of a personal database, consisting of every word written in the author’s computers for a four year period (2002-2006). The database contains metadata, such as time-stamps for each word, capitalization, and its source. This allowed Mendoza to create software installations that lead us to pay attention to the language in through various conceptual lenses.

Every Word I saved” (pictured above) recontextualizes the language in the dataset by displaying it in alphabetical order as a stream of text flowing in the screen, suggesting a radically reorganized stream of consciousness. The words are stripped of all data, except for their capitalization, a minimal touch that provides significant variation from the steady stream of repetitions of the same words. The kinetic presentation of streaming text allows us to perceive these meaningful graphical cues as they crest like waves over the steady linearity of lower case letters.

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“Unravel” by Agnieszka Michalska

Screen capture from "Unravel" by Agnieszka Michalska. Background is image of a wheat field with a solitary word written in the middle on white text. Text: "UNRAVEL"
Open “Unravel” by Agnieszka Michalska

This scheduled poem plays like a silent video composed of a series of photographs of a wheat field in the background and kinetic language in the foreground. The text unfolds through a series of transformations of words by moving letters around into to form other words, and letter substitutions that create rapid word sequences. Timing is all in this poem, which could be organized internally by the speed at which its words are transformed and the means by which they change from one to the next. Notice the speed at which a sequence of four letter words change through letter substitution, forming a stream of associations, and the emphasis this gives to the pause at the end. Contrast this to the longer words that transform into other words by moving letters around, emphasizing each word and its meaning as moments with a thematic charge that punctuates the poem.

Allow this short poem to loop and read it a few times to allow its thematic and visual coherence to sink in.

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“Lollipop Noose” by Todd Seabrook

Screen capture of "Lollipop Noose" by Todd Seabrook. A game of Hangman takes place, in which "S" has been the only correct guess so far.
Open “Lollipop Noose” by Todd Seabrook

This video poem created in Flash is a meditation on the word game Hangman. The Western banjo rock music— a clip from Modest Mouse’s “3 Inch Horses, Two Faced Monsters“— evokes the American “wild west,” reminding us of its improvised deadly justice system that often resulted in hanging. This cultural backdrop enhances the poem’s ruminations on what would otherwise seem like an innocent little word game. Its scheduled presentation of language appropriately conforms to the game mechanics, placing blanks and filling in all of one letter at a time until the complete phrase is readable. The animation centered on the letter “O” is a pictorial analysis that cleverly leads to the poem’s title. Its use of color is not only a reminder of the imaginary stakes in the game, but also shapes the reading in some of the poem’s stanzas. As you watch and read this short e-poem and appreciate its deconstruction of the game, consider what it has to say about the real and imagined human body and that of language.

Read more about this work at ELMCIP.