Very happy to announce that the newest in the Atomic Language Machines series was included in this years ELO exhibition, entitled (un)continuity, Jul 16 – Aug 1, 2020
This new reading machine, called Radical of the Vertical Heart 忄, traverses the Chinese lexicon by repeatedly making the minimal allowable change to the sub-character components of characters. Rather than evaluating letters, as in alphabetic machines, this logographic reader analyses the strokes, radicals, and sub-components of characters. When the machine lands on sensitive words, such as those disallowed by China’s Great Firewall, a warning is issued and the machine jumps from traditional to simplified or vice versa.
In order to realize this piece, extensive research was required into the potential decompositions of simplified and traditional Chinese characters, and on the various measures of distance between them, the latter leading to a novel algorithm for “logographic edit distance”. Radical of the Vertical Heart is the second piece in the Atomic Language Machines series, following Automatype, a machine which traverses the English lexicon via minimum-edit (or Levenshtein) distance.
About the Exhibition
(un)continuity, curated by Shannon Lindsay, Ha’ani Hogan, and Anastasia Salter, is an invitation to explore fluidity, to break binaries, and challenge categories: works in this exhibition explore representation and presentation; play along spectra of light, sound, and probe the visible-invisible; and embrace unity and discord. This type of boundary work is at the heart of electronic literature, a practice of exploring the limits of born-digital storytelling that includes multi-modal writing, digital art, playful narrative, interactive fiction, literary games, hypertext, and screen fiction.