The Concrete Poets of the '60s, and their Dada and Futurist forebears,
treated the visual appearance of text as a principal participant
in the production of meaning. Their interests in such experimentation
grew out of a deeply held belief that traditional forms of written
communication, with its clean spacing, rectilinear layout, and sober
letterforms, no longer could speak to the cultural schizophrenia
of the modern age. Working within the constraints of traditional
letterpress, these artists and poets managed to explore text's visual
presence in ways that seem fresh even to the MTV-jaded eyes of today.
As concrete poets practicing at the beginning of a new century,
we have embarked upon the ActiveText Project. The ActiveText Project
is an on-going experiment in radical ways of treating and interacting
with the visual appearance of text in ways which reflect our post-millennial
data devotion. Users can set glyphs, words, or entire passages in
motion, pull them apart, blow them up, infect them with dynamic
behaviors and even reconstitute them, in an attempt to deconstruct
standard notions of text presentation and reception. We use these
behaviors to write digital poetry, create whimsical web pages and
do performance art in dance clubs.
At the core of the project is a C++ library called ActiveText.
This library implements a general purpose architecture for creating
dynamic texts, using an object-based hierarchy to represent texts.
This hierarchy makes it easy to work with the ASCII component and
pixel component of the text at the same time. Static, dynamic and
interactive properties of text can be easily intermixed and layered.
The user can enter and edit text, adjust static and dynamic layout,
apply dynamic and interactive behaviors, and adjust their parameters
with a common set of tools and a common interface. Support for continuous
editing allows the user to sketch dynamically. The documents produced
by the ActiveText library can be of use in a wide-range of areas,
including chat-spaces, email, web-sites, fiction and poetry writing,
live performance and low-end film & video titling.
an environment for programming typographic animation which itself
employed animated type.
Focused on creating fonts which were designed
for computational manipulation.
Haeberli created a utility for doing real-time,
3D transformations of letterforms. Unfortunately I can't find a
reference anywhere on the web. You might as well check out Dynadraw
an early drawing program that uses gesture to interpret stroke,
Early work on Kinetic
Typography. Ph.D. thesis a good starting point, along with Wong
and Small, for a discussion of the usability issues involved in
the reading and experience of dynamic typography.
Relentless experimenter, Levin has produced
a number of smaller pieces which play with typography in various
Dynamic Poetry sought to create a new
genre of poems driven by interactive/dynamic type; ActiveText project
build a number of tools to create such texts.
Has made innovation with computational
type one of the cornerstones of his work, and of the work done by
his students in the Aesthetic and Computation Group at the Media
Rosenberger-Shankar built an environment
which used prosody information from marked-up text files to animate
- Prosodic Font: The space between
the spoken and the written. Masters thesis, Massachusetts
Institute for Technology, 1998.
- The World Generator / The Engine of
Poetics: Emergent Meaning as Examined and Explored Within
a Specific Generative Virtual Environment
Conducted a series of experiments at the
Media Lab's Visual Language Workshop in dynamic and three-dimensional
- Implementation of a temporal typography
system. Masters thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Yin Yin Wong
Sha Xin Wei
Conducts Conducts Hubbub,
a project dedicated to different means of visualizing speech in
public places. The project uses TextOrgan as the it's text visualization
In Motion: Innovations in Digital Graphics
dynamic text performance tool
dynamic and interactive text editor
triptych of interactive poems
painting with text
playing around with type
A Method for Creating Dynamic and Interactive Texts
Poetry: Introductory Remarks to a New Medium