Wednesday, January 27, 2010

featural scripts

This hierarchy represents the granularity of morphemic and phonemic symbolism:

pictograph >
logograph >
syllabary >
alphabet >
abugida >
abjad >

Of these, Hangul (Korean) is usually attested as the only featural script (It was a deliberate construction, dating from ca. 1443). Contesting this view is the following article:

Primus, Beatrice. 2004. A featural analysis of the Modern Roman Alphabet. Written Language and Literacy, 7.2, 235–274

It's super interesting and one has to give the professor credit for trying to be systematic in her analysis. So I give it an A for effort, but…it's nonetheless unconvincing and historically naive.

The granularity of a formal (non-representational aka digital decomposable, not analog) script usually correlates to graphmic complexity in that characters that symbolize less granularity tend toward greater visual complexity; an inverse relation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

castles in the sand (1965)

Cool review (mostly) of a 20-artist exhibition in Chicago a year back:

Dimension and Typography: A Survey of Letterforms in Space and Time

imaginary trip to an imaginary art museum

Upon entering this museum, the check-in person had me sign a form promising that I not laugh at one of the musique concrète audio installations ("Don't laugh at it, it has a lot of car noises," she says).

Then I get to choose from small menu of different re-dressing options: jackets and pants and shoes that better match the art on display.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Anachronisms (in both directions); Steampunk

Thematic realms:
Steampunk: Alternate-history sci-fi; cyberpunk and information-technology themes applied to past.
Post-cyberpunk: cyberpunk without dystopian assumptions, more technologically optimistic.
“Postliterate” society in fiction.

Why this interest?
1)Because I'm interested in our prehistory, history, our present state, and how little time is between them.
2)In concepts made manifest in unexpected substrates.

The central idea here would likely translate to a piece sculptural in nature, and it's possible to merge this with the more developed ideation I've worked out for my proposal on asemic writing/haptic poetry.

Asemic writing/Haptic poetry

I've had an interest in linguistics recently and the border-zone between text and visual art. Analog (subjective semantic continuum) versus digital (discrete agreed-upon(?) sign), in the realm of symbology.

Certainly there are ample advantages to languages in spoken and written form as they've developed in numerous cultures over the course of history. And there is great diversity to be sure within human language (e.g. ideographic systems vs. alphabetic systems; words/morphenes as the atomic unit of language vs. combinations of semantically null letters).

But languages seem to develop more cultural specificity over time; in other words, less universal and accessible to outsiders. I propose to explore the creation of a poem-thesis, in a language that can be “learned” rapidly and which will be intriguing enough formally for an audience to want to derive its meaning.

What might be the nature a text that prominently uses color (edo script), 3-dimensional structure, or texture (braille) as a formal feature?

(In Sumeria and elsewhere, written language first developed as a manner of accounting, particular to a class of scribes. Initial written/stamped symbols are abstractions of what were at one time physical tokens. Inventories of these alternately imprinted and variously-shaped objects were kept as a semantic records.)

Is there a more integrative, subtly expressive way to indicate emotionality in writing that is somewhere between adjectival and pictoral methods? (Emoticons: a good example of what not to do here)

There are some concrete ideas that are easily and expediantly expressable in written language, but many abstract notions recourse to visual aids. How smooth can a transition be between these forms?

What about a script that can metamorphasize like an Escher painting from one form to another, sublimating from 1 to 3 and condensing to 2, or incorporating innovative superstructures (e.g. hyperlinks as opposed to linearity)?

To what degree can a language be ambiguous, while still being functional/parseable (programming languages->natural languages-> abstract art).

Different faces of a single project:
Swapping the functions of a descriptive placard and an art-object.

Many larger projects, particularly those that are collaborative in nature, have different forms in different stages (e.g. script, screenplay… final reel). Many products in our capitalist economy, some artistic works also take on a plethora of media forms (e.g. games, action figures, novelizations, lunchboxes) in which it is possible for no product may hold the status of dominant or official form.

I intend to produce a concise, natural language script version of of this experiment over the couse of the next two weeks, as well as a shot-list, or form-list or sorts for the expressive avenues I think it would be appropriate for the project to do down.

Some inspirations ifrom this artistic arena:
Brion Gysin's calligraphy.
Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini (1976-1978)

with his heart in his throat and sugar on his lips

Sometime in the past, a few centuries perhaps, there lived a family of orphaned Irish children. They stayed apart from adult society and when they traveled, they'd walk one behind another in a line, all draped with a giant gauze blanket, moving as if a single slinky animal.

These children discovered a cave. The cave was mysterious and dangerous–It drew them to itself one by one, like fireflies to a bug-zapper. Of course, the children imagined themselves less like bugs and more like soldiers. It began with a curious younger girl, followed by the vengeful eldest boy… In turn, each ventured bravely into the cave, a loud splashy explosion occurred and no children came out.

Eventually, the turn had come for the last boy of the clan, the smallest of his former comrades. Outside the cave, he bid farewell to a girl in a pink petticoat (who was not of the clan, but to whom he still felt he ought to say goodbye). He armed himself with a pointy stick and entered slowly, with a light step, fearful of making any sound. Inside, the cave floor was pocked with deep craters and a few shiny objects could be seen half-buried in the lumpy soil. The boy carefully made his way into the cave's center. Once there, he waited.

A long while later, when nothing had come out to eat him, the boy's boredom overcame his fear and he decided to investigate the shiny objects. He squatted down, reached out at stick's length, and poked at a green and silver object. It burst open, forming a new crater in the cave floor and splattering his face. Wide-eyed and terrified, the boy stayed frozen still. Some drops of the sticky liquid dripped down into his mouth and tasted sweet.

With his heart in his throat and sugar on his lips, the boy gradually excavated a nearby can of Coca-cola, like a little paleontologist removing a land mine. He held the shiny red cylinder in his hands and made his way out of the cave.

Outside, there was something different. There were still familiar boulders and trees, but there were other trees–naked–with lines strung between their tops. Big vehicles whooshed by, down on what was formerly a dirt path. A little girl who looked not-quite like the girl he'd said goodbye to upon entering the cave saw him and asked, “Oh! May I have some of your soda?” Disoriented and not wanting to be responsible for exploding a little girl, he took off running down the roadside.

Frantically, the boy turned around and around like a dust devil, hoping perhaps to catch a glimpse of the world he knew before. But he didn't, because when you spin around fast, all you'll see is a blur.