SHIFTING v.1 (public text art installation fragment)

This fragment has been recorded while the random phrase generator was implemented. Basically, it is a small peace of computer code that I’ve written with the help of a programmer. Later I was using variations of this format to construct specific phrases to achieve a desired effect. The biggest challenge was to adapt to the contexts of various public spaces — mainly it involves the creation of versions in different languages. The Lithuanian and English versions were shown in public spaces of Lithuania (Vilnius, Kaunas, Žeimiai), Poland (Krakow), Germany (Bremen) and France (Paris).

The main idea was to construct a conceptual piece of text art, which would question the notions of public text and the authorship. This particular piece has four constantly changing parts. They change randomly and the number of possible combinations is nearly 25000, so the effect of repetition is excluded — moreover, the flow of combinations is even perceived as some sort of a narrative.

By delegating the authorship of the resulting text to a computer — or, to be precise, the Chance itself — I try to explore the conventional notion of an authorship. Of course, this lack of an author is a fictitious one: I am still responsible for a particular vocabulary, or a semantic “cloud” of meanings. By using certain words I can manipulate the spectrum of meanings, or the “topic” as it were. But still, it is impossible to predict the flow of combinations — every time it’s a different story.

Another important aspect is perceptual engagement in the public space. The format of the work is originally dictated by the works of Jenny Holzer and Martin Firrell but from the very beginning I considered this form (text art being projected onto various surfaces in public spaces) as a language that can be used very individually, thus enabling an emergence of a distinctively personal path and conceptual form.

I always enjoy watching the text projected onto buildings and trees — simple, white, big words that fall into some sort of chain of associations. For me it’s a meditative, personal dialogue with the unknown author, or, again, to be precise — the dialogue with the anonymous power of Chance itself. I also like the question mark in the gaze of the passer-by, when he suddenly stops on his way home in the evening — maybe tired, immersed into him/herself, slightly surprised and unable to identify these shifting messages with the usual imagery of a cityscape.

© Tomas Čiučelis, 2008-2010

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