Mindhue Studio

Printmaking, conceptual and installation art

Swype Alphabet

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.