ALTERNATIVE

ALPHABETS

Alternative Alphabets debuted as an 8-week long research study in the 2016 Exhibition "RE:", held at the Phyllis-Straus Gallery, Florida State University. 

This series showcases three alphabets created by the crossbreeding of technological and human languages. These languages adopt conventions from both computational binary and English writing systems. Through an intensive transcription process, three pieces of text were excerpted and translated into alphabets constructed from Barcode, Emission Spectra, and Board Circuitry.

The source texts for this project investigate the nature of creation, as well as the relationship between man and machine. Alternative Alphabets complicates language as understood by humans with the language understood by machines, ultimately conceiving a hybrid that can be understood by neither, or both.

ALPHABET ONE:

BARCODE

'THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT'

 

ALPHABET TWO:

EMISSION SPECTRUM

'GENESIS'

ALPHABET THREE:

CIRCUIT BOARD

Translation:

"The stars and Galaxies died and snuffed out, and space grew black after ten trillion years of running down.

One by one Man fused with AC, each physical body losing its mental identity in a manner that was somehow not a loss but a gain.

Man's last mind paused before fusion, looking over a space that included nothing but the dregs of one last dark star and nothing besides but incredibly thin matter, agitated randomly by the tag ends of heat wearing out, asymptotically, to the absolute zero.

 

Man said, "AC, is this the end? Can this chaos not be reversed into the Universe once more? Can that not be done?"

 

AC said, "THERE IS AS YET INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER."

 

Man's last mind fused and only AC existed -- and that in hyperspace.

----

Matter and energy had ended and with it, space and time. Even AC existed only for the sake of the one last question that it had never answered from the time a half-drunken [technician] ten trillion years before had asked the question of a computer that was to AC far less than was a man to Man.

 

All other questions had been answered, and until this last question was answered also, AC might not release his consciousness.

 

All collected data had come to a final end. Nothing was left to be collected.

 

But all collected data had yet to be completely correlated and put together in all possible relationships.

 

A timeless interval was spent in doing that.

 

And it came to pass that AC learned how to reverse the direction of entropy.

 

But there was now no man to whom AC might give the answer of the last question.

 

No matter. The answer -- by demonstration -- would take care of that, too.

 

For another timeless interval, AC thought how best to do this. Carefully, AC organized the program.

 

The consciousness of AC encompassed all of what had once been a Universe and brooded over what was now Chaos. Step by step, it must be done.

 

And AC said, "LET THERE BE LIGHT!"

 

And there was light----

- Isaac Asimov, 'The Last Question'

 

 © 2020 by Brittany Gress.

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