Nave Residency Day 11

Data Representation, Residency, Scientific Exploration

Something of a disjointed day today, various errands and weather-related interruptions had me going back three separate times. However, I did get stuff done. One of which was a  shot of the Pixel Earth-Moon System with my nice Canon camera; I had tried before but the auto-focus didn’t quite figure out what to focus on, so every shot was blurry. Hitherto:


This, of course, is the Earth and the Moon, to scale in pixel form, with the distance between them also to scale.

Swype Alphabet

Data Representation, Linguistic Deconstruction

I just got a new cell phone, a Samsung SCH-I415. It has a physical keyboard, but it also comes loaded with Swype, a virtual keyboard that uses word patterns on the keyboard to interpret input. This annoyed me, because I’d wanted to do sculptures based on these shapes and don’t want to be considered as derivative. I’d done some maquettes in recent years and posted about it here, but hadn’t showed anything, except for a small piece I showed at the Samson Project‘s Chain Letter show in 2011. For the curious, documentation occurs on the far right panel of the 13th image from the show, it’s the little wooden piece to the left of the tangle of wires. My own documentation of the show is here.

Well, I started playing with Swype, and it works pretty well as an input system, much better than pecking at a virtual screen with fingertips and missing every sixth letter. It doesn’t much like usernames and oddities, but it does a decent job of adding things to its dictionary, although I’d rather not trust it with any passwords. It’s funny, but it’s easier to Swype with my left hand because it doesn’t seem to cover up as much of the keyboard while I’m drawing. It then occurred to me: since I’m drawing on the keyboard, I could take a page from my alphabets fixation and see how Swype would interpret my letter shapes.

I did the capital alphabet several times, to get something of a statistical collection of words, and here is a selected list:

A: Cyndi
B: Truth
C: Itch
D: Tactic
E: Rancho
F: Through
G: Using
H: Rerun
I: Truck
J: Until
K: Reign
L: Ten
M: Exton
N: Darby
O: Hecht
P: Trig
Q: Grub
R: Flubbed
S: Utrecht
T: Thai
U: Ruby
V: Rio
W: Echo
X: Eric
Y: Rub
Z: Rick Flynn

I tried to keep with a single word for each letter, with the exception of “Rick Flynn” for “Z”, because it was pretty awesome. Also, honorable mention to the runner up for “Z”, “Gagnon B-)”. I didn’t include it because an emoticon isn’t really a word, but it’s also pretty awesome.

Two Alphabet Samplers: Traditional and Articulated

Letterpress, Linguistic Deconstruction

I’ve been doing some letterpress runs for the upcoming Somerville Open Studios on the 5th and 6th, mostly of simple things that people might like to have as display pieces. One of these was an alphabet sampler, printed in 877 Gold here:

After doing this, I thought of a post I’d done long, long ago about extending the English alphabet and coming up with some new letterforms. Nothing much came of it, but I’d thought of doing a New Alphabet sampler then, so I thought, why not try something like that now? Instead of coming up with new letters, though, just rearrange the letters in a new way and try to shoehorn the extraneous ones in somehow. So, here’s the Articulation Alphabet Sampler:

This particular sampler arranges the letters in order of place of articulation, ranging from P and B using the lips all the way back to H and X using the back of the throat–in this case, “X” standing for the Germanic sound you get in “Bach”. The other oddball letters are C, standing in for the “ch” in “church”, and Q, which is supposed to be sounded with a forward “rk” sound in words like “Iraq”.

You can even sing it:

♩Pee bee em ef vee eye tee ♫
♪ Dee ee ess zee en ell sea ♩
♫ Jay are ey ♩
♩Why cue kay ♬
♫ Jee you double-you oh aitch ex. ♫
♩Now I know my P-B-Ms ♬
♪ Tell me what you think of them. ♫