Description (in English): 

'text.curtain' explores relationships between poetic text and ludic play via an interactively evolving recombinant text. Projected on a wall-size screen, text.curtain presents a physics-based 'spring-mass' interface that organically responds to the interactions of multiple simultaneous users. As the piece is disrupted and letters wash back and forth, a granular synthesis engine provides realtime aural feedback. Tension is created through the simultaneous desire of users to both disrupt the existing text via 'play' and to 'read' the piece as it evolves and recombines in response.

As a user approaches the piece they are presented with fourteen lines. Depending on the version, either video motion-tracking (as below) or multiple track-balls (as above,) measure users' interactions, allowing disruption of the letters and lines via movement. As the entropy (or disorder) of the system increases and lines fragments and layer atop each another, readability is increasingly obscured until a threshold is reached and a state change occurs, with the existing text shifting up and away and a newly selected line appearing at bottom. As the new line appears, the system settles into a stability once again, affording a new reading of the ever-evolving text (there are 30-factorial or nearly 3^30 potential poems in the work, virtually guaranteeing that none will repeat in a single day).

(Source: project page at NYU Media Research Lab)

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Scott Rettberg