www.dichtung-digital.org/2004/2-Cayley.htm

O V E R B O A R D
An Example of Ambient Time-Based Poetics in digital art

by John Cayley

overboard by John Cayley, with Giles Perring, is an example of literal art in digital media that demonstrates an 'ambient' time-based poetics. There is a stable text underlying its continuously changing display and this text may occasionally rise to the surface of normal legibility in its entirety. However, overboard is installed as a dynamic linguistic 'wall-hanging,' an ever-moving 'language painting.' As time passes, the text drifts continually in and out of familiar legibility - sinking, rising, and sometimes in part, 'going under' or drowning, then rising to the surface once again. It does this by running a program of simple but carefully designed algorithms which allow letters to be replaced by other letters that are in some way similar to the those of the original text. Word shapes, for example, are largely preserved. In fact, except when 'drowning,' the text is always legible to a reader who is prepared to take time and recover its principles. A willing reader is able to preserve or 'save' the text's legibility.

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