Re: [-empyre-] context of text

on 18/5/03 09:11 AM, hazel smith at wrote:

> Obviously I would be interested in your reactions to infLect. In addition,
> some of the issues I would like to discuss and hear from you about while I
> am a guest are:
> * language as visual object? How far have the possibilities of this been
> explored in electronic poetry?

In the misty past John Warnock and others evolved a language called
PostScript. Originally made to be the language used to describe New York
harbour in 3D and to be used for shipping control etc it then became the
default page description language for laser printers, it evolved onto the
screen through software like Cricket Draw, bounding box was added to
baseline to became part of a designers vocabulary.

I had a love affair with typography for about 15 years, letterforms became
seductive for me, there's something utterly visceral about well designed
letterforms, they're like good food, a plate of olives, Bulgarian fetta,
roasted capsicum, pickled chillies (synaesthesia?). There's a tension about
an individual letterform that reveals the time and desire for resolution
that the designer put into making it work. This transfers to paper and
screen. This kind of aesthetic is part of every page of information.
Different type families change the look and feel of a page of information.

When TV came along text tended to look bitty and rough and type was
eventually specifically designed for the scan line crudity of early B+W TV,
45 degrees was a good thing. I remember getting sore eyes from looking at
those old green monitors, the scan rate was so low.

Type became bits, ASCII evolved onto the screen, you could do weird things
to typeforms and a lot of really bad type design and usage suddenly
appeared. Machine typefaces like Eon became very popular. You had a lot of
Rudyard Kipling ,How The Alphabet Was Born, approaches to type design.

The poetics of typeforms, hieroglyphics, calligraphy, drawing. I'd like to
see typeforms that respond to the feelings of the viewer, that respond
dynamically to the message in the text, that speak when touched, like brail


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