On Writing

The essay on Writing covers a wide variety of topics that sheds light on the writing as a tool for the media which raises a few questions. The discussion was revolving around the writing as a penetration to the biomechanics of the human sound, there are two pieces of artwork that we can triangulate with the idea. Both of them uses the concept of Text-to-Speech (TTS) to some extent to materialize, and even spatialize the writing.

The earlier example is the work called “Poem Fields” by the filmmaker Stan¬†VanDerBeek and computer graphics artist Ken Knowlton. It is one of the earliest attempts to use computer graphics in which authors tried to visualize poems in a series of eight films. The visualization relies heavily on text, and it is a pioneering example of computer typography used in the art. Note that the text here is not like a handwriting and since it is free from the mechanical allowances of the typewriter as well, the alphabet here is purely replicable. The artificial ‘space’ character and punctuation are reflected as visual images and transition between images.

A later prominent use of TTS technology for giving birth to a unique spatial representation of face-to-face conversation is the Mark Hensen and Ben Lubin’s work titled “Listening Post“. In this work, random conversations from internet chat rooms are popped up in mini-screens attached to a wall. In the meantime, a TTS engine is used to vocalize the sentence. The internet has opened up a new era in written communication: Who can deny the impact of the emojis, which are a unique blend of image and text, that we use on a daily basis? The listening post gives the internet chat a real-world identity.

I would like to conclude this by investigating the graffiti: I think it takes the writing beyond its functional form and combines it with the materiality by bonding itself to physical structures such as buildings or public places. Most of the time compressed with an encrypted message delivered by underground artists, is it communicating the rebellion in an aesthetically pleasing manner? The history of graffiti dates back to the Ancient Rome: Therefore, it was sure a rebellion against the existing distribution systems of writing which solely depend on centralized powers that control the production of parchment, papyrus, or paper. The exposing nature of the graffiti disallowed it to use it as a mean of recording trade and this could be another reason for the graffiti to be associated with the underground scene.

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