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Not My Type and the edge of Text Art at WRT: Writer Response Theory




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Not My Type - Episode 1

Like image-primary art, we can categorize text-primary art by features: static or moving? passive or interactive?

Yet one of the most important aesthetic aspects of text art is not whether or not it is animated, but whether the font is fixed-distance or proportional. Works with similar font-systems may have more in common with each other than do movie-like or game-like works with different systems.

Fixed-distance fonts presented displayed in a grid arrangement always make me recall ASCII Art aesthetics. This is true whether or not the individual characters are actually ASCII, and whether or not they were actually composed vs. being auto-generated. On the other hand, the free arrangement of proportional fonts reminds me of the Flash Art style of e-Poetry - whether or not the medium is actually Flash.

For the Lycette Brothers, the medium is actually Flash, but their work features the exclusive (or almost exclusive) use of rendered fonts to convey graphic images, all with a simple style that ought to have both early ASCII scenesters and earlier Dada pioneers nodding in approval.

What is text art, and what isn’t?

Un-icon is an interesting exploration of that space where font shapes and design shapes meet, while Not My Type makes of these designs a narrative - a simple schtick about a Charlie Brown figure in a Dilbert world, but narrative. After viewing the Not My Type episodes, particarly the fourth one (although it omits the girl with an 8 for lips), a few questions occur to me:

Is the animation “purely” rendered from characters indicated in the source files, or are there graphic inserts? Does it matter, given that flash treats these characters as images in processing anyhow? Do ‘webdings’ or other iconset styles of fonts count as using only characters, or should a “pure” work be strictly alphanumeric? What is the point of this purity, if it can be achieved?

To take an opposite tack - let us suppose that in the coming few years the major desktop rendering systems of the world (Longhorn, Tiger, etc.) all go to 3d, lit, and rendered surfaces on which fonts occur - the culmination of a process in hardware and software since that has been building since the introduction of graphics modes. Within this kind of system, a terminal-like fixed-distance font system for displaying text appears to be “closer to the machine” - but is really just rendered as anything else. Does this evacuate the ASCII Art look of all authenticity, making it more a simulacrum of type than “Not My Type” is?



1 Response to “Not My Type and the edge of Text Art”

  1. 1 #social_victim_meat#

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    ————————————————————————
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    [stripped.bare.bai.my.theory.circuit.(d)b{h}ord.es]
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    ..

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