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Algorithmic translation

By Harriet Staff

Visual poet Eric Zboya published a spidery algorithmic translation of Charles Bernstein’s “Alphabetica.” Zboya’s practice is based on the translation of text into images using a bunch of math that we at Harriet are not going to pretend we completely understand but also are not going to pretend that we don’t think is kind of cool probably precisely because we don’t really understand it and therefore it appears to us as incredibly smart, which it clearly is. From the author’s statement:

We tend to overlook that mathematics, much like any system of communication based on semantics, is, in fact, a language; and it is a language that has largely been ignored as a vehicle for textual translation. Algorithmic Translations attempt to acknowledge this vehicular disregard by utilizing the mathematical functionality found in graphic imaging software. This utilization adds an element of dimensionality to a textual work by mutating a text into a kind of graphic, nonlinear entity. Through a series of algorithmic calculations, the computer program expels an abstract image based upon the original topographical placement of the type on the space of the page. This algorithm transforms each letter, each mark of punctuation, into dendrites that extrude into the continuum of the page.


Posted in Poetry News on Friday, March 4th, 2011 by Harriet Staff.