Typography is a video work by Anna Ridler which examines the relationship between machinic and human. The work is part of Becoming, a 2017 exhibition presented by Subject Matter, Sedition and the Royal College of Art.
Today, machine learning and artificial intelligence programmes such as DeepMind and Magenta are becoming more involved with art process and will become more influential in the future. In Typography, Ridler explores the tension between what can be seen and understood as a human and what can be seen and understood by a computer as the starting point for a short video that tells the story of the history of language using an alphabet that she has created.
The alphabets have been constructed by remixing existing glyphs and fonts to form new letters. For example, “N" is made up of an “I" and a “V" together as “IV” to the human eye; with context, this meaning can be easily recognisable, but to a machine it is not. This allows Ridler to create messages that will make sense visually to a human reader but can potentially obscure meaning to a computer. All glyphs are based on the errors that are found when searching through WikiLeaks data and finding transcription errors between human and machine writing.
With Typography, the artist seeks to capture the essence of change, of moving from one state to another as the text changes from being instantly recognisable to almost unreadable.