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5555555 55555 555 came about when artist avatar Giovanna Cerise invited me to contribute to her collaborative SL project revolving around numbers. The idea was that I had to pick a number between 0 and 9 and everything that I built had to be made out of that single digit. Given my preoccupation with typography in 3D I gave a most enthusiastic "yes" as a response to her invite and built a space made only out of 5s. I am a graphic designer whose specialization is layout. That is the thing that I am good at (or at least, so I hope). So, the space that I built might be called a magazine spread of sorts, with body text, subheadings and headlines. I wondered if text composed of a single glyph would still give a sense of "content" when placed in such a way, in a logic that followed the typographic hierarchies of a standard page layout.

However, the project took on a life of its own after I completed the building. I started to think about how avatars would behave if they could only talk in 5s. What sort of a world would that be?

The tale is very simple: A lonesome avatar appropriates a strange world where one can only talk in 5s. But then she gets company - which, at first, she rejects since she does not want to share what she holds to be solely her own. But then she is talked into playing with the incomers.
Has a good time. However, just at the height of the fun and games "they" turn around and go. Leaving her bereft.

I took many photographs of this storyline. Then, I added speech bubbles (made out of strings of 5 to resemble words) to these images. Finally,
I deconstructed these little textual snippets in such a way that they would express some sort of "emotion" - to make up for the circumstance that conveying actual "meaning" is beyond their meager capabilities.


Out of these typographically enhanced screenshots I have made several displays of the tale. In fact, part of the experiment is too see how I can tell the same "tale" through different means: A storyboard type thing made with a tumblr infinite grid (click on image above this post), a flipbook and a prezi (both of which can be accessed below this post). And I intend to do a stop-motion video as well. At first I did not want to place any explanatory text in these, just let the viewer build the tale - or not. However, then I felt that this was probably way too stark; and erring on the side of caution, I added a few clues here and there.

Another thing that came out of all this is a literature review that I intend to put to good use in not only one, but several papers which I plan to write about all this. 5555555 55555 555 led me to terms such as "constrained writing" and "concrete poetry," as well as taking me back to previously examined concepts such as aleatoric and asemic writing. This review is mostly for my own benefit - but, who knows, it may interest others also. Therefore, some of what I read on these subjects has been extracted and can be found in the links on the right. And more links to papers that I have not yet extracted the relevant passages from can be found in a list at the bottom of this page.

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The 'constrained' encounter as a flipbook:

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The 'constrained' encounter followed through a zoomable interface:

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I wrote a paper for the IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging 2014 conference which I will be presenting on February 3rd in San Francisco. The paper (which can be downloaded from here >>>) combines a literature review of the behavior of text in three dimensional virtual spaces with concrete/digital poetry and constrained writing; followed by an exposition of 5555555 55555 555 in relationship to these topics.

I also made a prezi with which I intend to present the paper at the conference, and this can be viewed below.

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Links for Aleatoric poetry, Concrete poetry, Asemic Writing, Constrained Writing, etc...
Writing as Re-Writing: Concrete Poetry as Arrière-Garde by Marjorie Perloff
Augusto de Campos, Digital Poetry, and the Anthropophagic Imperative by Chris Funkhouser
Poetic Transformations in(to) the Digital, Friedrich W. Block and Rui Torres
Ut Pictura Hyperpoesis: Spatial Form, Visuality, and the Digital Word, John Tolva
Digital poetics or On the evolution of experimental media poetry, Friedrich W. Block
The Code is not the Text (unless it is the Text), John Cayley
Writing on Complex Surfaces, John Cayley
O V E R B O A R D: An Example of Ambient Time-Based Poetics in digital art, John Cayley
Search results for "Marinetti Typography" in Futurist Typography and the Liberated Text, by Alan Bartram
"Aleatoric poetry" search results in Claims for Poetry, edited by Donald Hall
Conceptual Poetics: Christian Bök, by Kenneth Goldsmith
Dichtung Digital
Oulipo
Constrained Writing
Futurism portal

Links for 3D, Typography, Deconstruction, etc...
Navigating large bodies of text by David Small
Typography Use in Hypertext Documents: Why Designers Make Font Choices by Andrew Williams
The Exploration of Static Typography for Expressing The Emotive Qualities of Music. PhD dissertation by Amanda Lu
From Movable Type to Moving Type-Evolution in technological mediated Typography by Gerhard Bachfischer and Toni Robertson
Deconstruction and graphic design: history meets theory by Ellen Lupton and J. Abbott Miller
A rhetoric of e| mediated (typo) graphicacy by Alan Robertson
The Status and the Prospects of Deconstruction in Graphic Design by Dong-Sik Hong, and Mijeong Hwang
A Study on the Deconstructionist Representation in Graphic Design by Dong-Sik Hong
Fluid Typography: Construction, Metamorphosis and Revelation by Barbara Brownie
Between Text and Image, East and West: Henri Michaux’s Signs and Christian Dotremont’s «Logogrammes» by Nina Parish
Visual arts and 2D–3D motion typo. graphic design by Anastasios Maragiannis
The poetics of transition: the ambiguous characteristics of virtual typography by Matthias Hillner