language is a virus

"The Untitled Project is a series of photographs of urban settings accompanied by a graphical text layout. The photographs have been digitally stripped of all traces of textual information. The text pieces show the removed text in the approximate location and font as it was found in the photograph."

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15 Responses:

  1. arpad says:

    Good one. Thanks.

  2. cetan says:

    I work less than a mile from the Peter Miller Gallery. Who knew? (Aside from Mapquest, that is...) Neat stuff.

  3. I never realized how irritating text could be until I saw these.
    It's really refreshing to not have everything trying to communicate to you.

    Wow. Thanks for the link.

    • volkris says:

      How is it possible to be irritated without knowing it?

      I mean, irritation is one of those abstract things that only exist in the mind; if the mind's not feeling it how can it be?

      • it's called masking. once we get used to things, our brain tunes them out.

        It really hit me looking at the cosmetics counter photo. I found the textless image to be pleasant, soothing even. My only formal training in this was an introductory course in cognitive psychology, but I think our brains are trained to look for text, and then analyze and interpret it, which is a considerable cognitive burden. Looking at the cosmetics picture, my eyes first went to the "Untitled #3" text, then to the barcodes on the white cards at the bottom, and after that I felt relaxed as I took the image in.

        Even now, as I type this into the livejournal textarea, I'm aware of the writing that surrounds. I can feel my eyes being pulled down to the option to check my spelling and the warning that if I post this anonymously, jwz will 0wn my IP address.

        OK, so my theories are probably bullshit, but I think they're nice ideas :-)

      • evil_genius says:

        Perusal you missed his meaning.

        He didn't realize he was being irritate, because it was the default state. Now that the text has been removed. Suddenly the image is much less irritating ie more pleasant to look at.

        How would you know you were sick if you and everyone around you were never health? Sick would be normal/healthy.

        It's about a sliding scale.

        How is it your every comment is irritating with you know it?

    • jonabbey says:

      Ever travelled abroad? You can get the same effect by wandering around in a crowd where everyone is jabbering in a language you don't get. Actually, you can get the same effect if you speak the language but not so well as to do it without conscious effort.

      Pretty h1p.

  4. lifftchi says:

    What would an illiterate person think? He would see the missing text, but would its absence have any meaning? Would he get that same refreshed feeling?

    • j_b says:

      My guess is it'd be like looking at photos of a country whose writing sytem you don't understand. (think busy downtown photos from Asia or eastern Europe). These seem to be more ... I don't know ... surreal ... it's rather calming, actually, but it brings to mind surreal dystopian worlds like in Equilibrium, or Camazotz for those who remember their young-adult fiction.

      • lifftchi says:

        No, I'm wondering what these pictures are like to someone who has never experienced the deluge of information that accompanies understanding of the written word. It seems to me that you're describing such a person's everyday existence, irrespective of the photos.

  5. sschmitt says:

    The picture is almost like a street without people on it. But it has people on it.

  6. hafnir says:

    I wanna see the They Live version of this. :)