The Transcode Process

The Transcode Process is part of The Transcode Series, a new collection of artworks by Jono Brandel.

New media is a genre of contemporary art that mixes art and technology. But, technology consists of many different things. The wheel, the paintbrush, and the iPod are all objects of technology. New media theorist Lev Manovich describes an attribute that links these and other technological objects: transcoding. When you take something – like movement, thoughts, or music – and transcode it through a technological object, it invariably transforms into something else: movement becomes transportation, thoughts become paintings, and music is placed in your pocket. The result of this process connects its subject to unlikely partners. The Transcode Process is a visual study that explores this technological phenomenon in two improbable subjects: Latin and Emojis.

In this twenty-minute video, thousands of Latin words are drawn into a mechanism which transcodes them into Emojis. To achieve this, the mechanism translates a word into an intermediary language: English. With an English keyword assigned, the mechanism refers to a buried file created by Apple, Inc.. This file guides your smartphone’s keyboard to suggest words in order to more easily create coherent sentences. Many of those predictions suggest an Emoji instead of a word. The resulting Emoji exits the mechanism and continues moving across the screen. This movement visualizes the transformation process of transcoding. It also reveals that this process irreversibly connects specific Latin words to specific Emojis. In doing so, a collection of relationships is realized for use in Lost Treasures Found.

All artist proceeds from The Transcode Series will be donated to Gray Area, the San Francisco project space where the works were originally intended to be shown prior to COVID-19. A talk by the artist is presented on Patch by Gray Area alongside the launch on 2 July 2020.

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