[-empyre-] was TT.O/ja, now Simon Biggs, Mary Flanagan, Jason Lewis
> dear jim
> what most people call digital-art
> is in actual fact "gloss" /screen-gloss if you like!
> why is the digital part of digital art HIDDEN in the background!
> surely the most interesting thing about "digital-art"
> is what happens with its digits!
> programming is just digit-making!
ehehe, yes in a sense that's true, isn't it.
and in a sense poetry has just been finitely many letters (and the odd number) on a page,
painting so many permutations in a thin lighted 3d space. but...
i came across some fine work I wanted to share with the list, and it is also relevant to your
It's the work of Jason Lewis at http://www.thethoughtshop.com . The piece I'm thinking of that
relates to TT.O's evocation of the material is called 'I Know What You're Thinking' and is at
http://www.thethoughtshop.com/works/ikwyt/ikwyt.htm . You download a .zip, unzip the bitsnbites,
and double-click the exe. You then should turn the lights off, because the light is subtle in
this piece. You may also want to adjust the brightness of your monitor so that, in the dark,
black is invisible. This usually means turning the brightness down on the monitor; people have
their brightness too high for the night. I watched 'I know what you're thinking' for about
fifteen minutes with the lights off. It's a show. It scans your hard drive for texts from a
variety of sources and then proceeds to display bits and pieces of them in this show of the dark
screen and the text from the recesses of the computer. It reminded me of a piece by Mary
Flanagan, but only in that her work is Shockwave also and also reads and displays text from the
hard disk. The similarity more or less ends there. They are very different experiences (which in
itself is instructive).
If it were scanning just any old texts, one wouldn't care as much. But since it is scanning
texts from one's hard disk, it becomes a characterization of the hidden recesses of the computer
and thereby parts of one's life (many of which we may have forgotten). I had to laugh with
pleasure and gratitude for this interesting 'profile' (is that the right word?--I don't think
so--more like a very subtle poetical characterization--poetical in the *arrangement* of the text
and the *size* of the phrases, and also in the content, which was not all from my writing (I ran
it in the same folder as Text Organ (another work on this site) so it seems to have drawn from
those texts also (which are read via getNetText from the Net)).
I liked the rhythm of it, also. You see it settles into a visual rhythm that is readable and
interesting as a rhythm.
You may want to also explore http://thethoughtshop.com/works which is, as you may have guessed,
the works. Jason Lewis has produced some 'electronic poetry' of great interest to me--actually
he says 'I Know What You're Thinking' is concerned with "identity and algorithmic art". I have
been aware of his work at http://thethoughtshop.com/works/atextw/atext.htm for several
years--the site keeps growing--I also saw Nine at http://thethoughtshop.com/works/nine/nine.htm
for the first time upon the visit that yielded 'I Know What You're Thinking'.
'I Know What You're Thinking', TT.O, came to mind after reading your post because of it's
into-the-dark-depths-of-bit-processing aspect, it's double sided look into the machine and the
person's life and identity.
It reminded me of a piece by Mary Flanagan called 'search' at
http://www.maryflanagan.com/search.htm . And, additionally, Mary's piece reminds me of Simon's
piece: on the title page, Mary quotes Borges from 'The Library of Babel':
"When it was proclaimed that the Library contained all books, the first impression was one of
extravagant happiness. All men felt themselves to be the masters of an intact and secret
treasure.... At that time it was also hoped that a clarification of humanity's basic
mysteries...might be found.... There are official searchers, inquisitors. I have seen them in
the performance of their function: they always arrive extremely tired from their journeys; they
speak of a broken stairway which almost killed them; they talk with the librarian of galleries
and stairs; sometimes they pick up the nearest volume and leaf through it, looking for infamous
I like the relations between Simon's 'Babel', Mary's 'search', and Jason's 'I Know What You're
Here we have an 'electronic poetry' of some intensity in its engagement with language and
programming, Babel and Godel, identity and algorithmic art.
> if you send me an address
> i'll send you a copy of my [book] "number poems"
> in exchange for something of yours [say]!
> the poems are simple --- but the thoughts behind them not so!
> i'm happy to talk also!
> love + anarchy
I don't see your email address. I am reachable via http://vispo.com , TT.O; backchannel me and
we'll see what we can do.
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