Visual experiments in interactive text layout, based
on work done at MIT Media Laboratory and UCLA Design | Media Arts, 1999
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a series of
ten interactive typing expressions. Its goal is to explore metaphors
and aesthetics used for designing automated typesetting process on the
personal computer beyond the traditional convention of typewriting.
Each of the ten pieces is a typing experience, a text entry context
into which the viewer types characters.
09/2004 - Screenshots of Textension's media lab research shown in John Maeda's Creative Code, a new book by Thames & Hudson, available in English, Japanese, French, and German.
- Textension exhibited at ArtBot at EyeBeam, New York
02/2003 - Open Source Excerpt from Textension featured in floor4.org, New York
02/2003 - Open Source Excerpt from Textension packaged as typographic example in Proce55ing
Exhibits in Art Futura 2002 in Barcelona, Spain
08/2002 - Demonstrated at FILE 2002 in Sao Paulo, Brazil
05/2002 - Wins READ_ME Festival 2002 in Moscow, Russia
11/2001 - Included in second issue of Publikation Uden Navn
- Projected in exhibit at UCLA Design | Media Arts Annual Show
10/2000 - Exhibits at annual showcase at Center for Digital Arts.
10/2000 - Textension is one of 100 finalists of I.D. Magazine Interactive
Media Design Review 2000
When I was younger I used to love writing notes to people on unusual
surfaces and materials. I altered as much as I could about my writing
to fit my expression. A girl once gave me a birthday greeting written
on a piece of driftwood. I once wrote a long letter on a skinny strip
of paper several yards in length. When my mother brought a typewriter
home, I enjoyed experimenting with typing upside down and ontop of other
letters by pushing the paper around with my fingers. I tried different
papers and I inserted small pieces of metal near the ink ribbon to alter
the effects of the typed letters. Knowing that I had creative freedom
to play with the placement of letters beyond what I saw in magazines
excited me. I think opportunities to play with type informally as one
would in other contexts are seriously lacking in the modern digital
Early computer text
was typewriting on paper. When computers started using screens, the
text still remained loyal to the same behavior. Today's graphical interfaces
are built with text field capabilities, so that all text entry experiences
are consistent, legible, and clean. The computer is just one big collection
of little typewriting moments. So where is the fun in all this? Sure,
to be legible, clean, and typewriter-like is standard and practical,
but do we want our text to be this way for the rest of time? Will we
always alter our expression to fit a restricting medium by inventing
such things as punctuation smiley faces in a world limited by the number
of currently available fonts? In a world of standards, convention, compatibility,
and efficiency, perhaps yes - but why force the rest of digital human
communication to surrender to such dry automated typesetting after computers
have long outgrown the need to stay loyal to the rules of the printing
I created these ten
pieces in response to a world of such dry computer word processing.
My goal is to inspire a more imaginative exploitation of the unique
capability of computers - creating expressive typing experiences otherwise
inefficient to implement, or physically impossible.
to Josh Nimoy