Doris Traubenzucker

Written in 1996: a Macintosh program which displays an ASCII dump of itself in a text window. The text window is fixed, and the program menu consists only of two entries: "Copy" and "Paste". Users/exhibition visitor may only use the mouse to change the text in the window. They can't type in anything, but have to select existing characters or character combinations from the window and combine them into new ones. No character ever gets erased. The software even restores the text window contents after system reboots. By restraining text editing to the two functions of copy and paste, this software shows how language evolves as intertextuality (or as selections of syntagms from paradigms). Usually, visitors create words from the letter chaos, and other visitors pick these words to built sentences, etc.pp.. There is, as said, no way of creating sentences but as a collage from existing material. The piece succeeds to be profound and exciting through radical reduction and simplification of existing software designs and interfaces. Unfortunately, it doesn't run on contemporary Macintosh computers and has hardly received any attention in digital art circles. The artist was formerly associated to etoy and now works as a curator of the Basel new media festival "Viper".

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keywords: 1996-literary-authorship-process-philosophical software for mac
category: text manipulation
uploaded by cantsin, 04 Jan 2003

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