Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design

Book as object: Black box

Project overview
Student name
Ágnes Petrucz
Degree level
Year of project
An undecipherable, materialised digital data repository, a book object as a black box. The continuously growing range of technological devices, algorithms spanning space and time, and mechanical systems, such as smart devices, artificial intelligence, etc. add variety to our public and private spaces as unfathomable black boxes. We use them day by day, and yet our understanding of their workings is limited to the UI at the moment of interaction. Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life by Adam Greenfield is an attempt at opening and deciphering these boxes in 10 chapters. The book object I have created reflects on the book and explores the issue of data and materiality. Each page is the size of a punch card, with perforated metal tabs of the same format serving as chapter separators making the ones and zeroes tangible. It also illustrates the question of decipherability: by crossing the line between text and image, I have created 10 alternative text translation systems in Processing, rendering the text of the book completely illegible – practically a recoded graphical interface.
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