Drawing Machines: A Letter I Will Never Send

What initially piqued my interest in a text based conference project was the art that we made in class using scanners. Prior to experimenting with the scanners, I never really had any interest nor connection to text based art. In fact, it almost seemed like a cop out of real art to me. But this project truly made me realize that a lot of emotion and thought often goes into such art.

The basis for my texts were personal letters that I had saved from my journal. Some of the letters have been written years ago and others were more recently written. I initially wrote them as a way to let out my feelings. However, even though I wrote them for this reason I still felt like I was holding onto the feelings they brought up for me. It wasn’t until I turned them into an art project that I have started actually let some of the pent up emotions go.

This is the first version of one of the letters. When I initially started scanning them, I kept the writing as obscured as possible. I did so by continuously moving the letters around on the scanner while it was mid scan. Essentially, I just dragged the letters back and forth on the scanner and I found it created some truly beautiful paintings. The aspect that I find so particularly beautiful is that the machine manages to transform these letters into something I never would’ve thought of. I wouldn’t have even believed that these were letters. Yet there is something that I personally find so captivating my staring at them and the patterns that the lines form.

After taking many scans in the style of the first version, I started to become more comfortable with the idea of showing that the images were actually derived from words. While the words may still be unclear here, the letters are relatively distinguishable. At this point, I realized how much I actually liked the presence of text and words. I achieved the look of these scans by still occasionally shifting the letters on the scanner, but at a much slower rate compared to the first version. After that, I blew them up to scale and focused on parts where I thought the words looked most intricate.

Here in the fourth version is where it becomes more apparent that I was indeed becoming more comfortable with sharing the actual text. But seeing as this was quite a personal project, I kept some words still blurred and unreadable.

Here is where I really became comfortable with the idea of showing what some of the text says. Although it is visible, the reader still does not what exactly it means. It feels as if though I have shared my entire history with the reader without them even knowing.

The last version strays slightly from the previous ones, as this one has color. I feel like I could go on forever experimenting with different ways to manipulate the text into art. I think that text and words can form beautiful art and thoughts. Sometimes words can make art even more personal and it makes us question the wonderful abilities that language possesses.