Here comes the science bit
On this site, I try to emphasise a continuity between text and code. Does code really need to look different from other text? Do we really need to see the line numbers and colourisation, the indentation? Do we need to see it in a mono-spaced font against a black background? It is useful to have this apparatus while editing a script. The indentation clarifies logical branching. Colourisation is...
“Do you dream in Ws?”
W, this strange portmanteau letter, the only letter in the alphabet that is plausibly divisible, wide-bodied yet silent, this ostentatious consonant that is really a vowel—it is the very essence of ambiguity, falling loudly but invisibly on the stress of that very word. The W is both an enface image of itself as well as a perfect anagram; it resounds alliteratively in the opening words of this...
In Dresden, on the Other Hand
Everywhere else, the mark of the houseproud city is its recently renovated façades, its impeccable paving and state-of-the-art grouting. Each polished brick, every chemically treated slab of stone, is a testament to civic pride. In Dresden, on the other hand, courses of polished stone are proudly dotted with stained and soot-covered bricks. These are the bricks salvaged from the city’s original...
An aesthetic circle of one sort or another has been completed with the opening of Bikini Berlin. The exposed metalwork, the pop-up concessions that crowd the central space, the faded Persian carpets and distressed Chesterfields that furnish the cafe—nothing would look out of place in Kreuzberg or Neukölln. Nothing would look out of place in much more corporatised London either, in third-wave...
The language of wine description struggles with différance, particularly with the deferral part. We are often told that a particular wine has hints of lemon, an after-taste of chocolate. The obvious question is, But which lemon? Which chocolate? Are we talking a ripe Sicilian . Columbian or Brazilian? Eager to emphasise the complexity of the wine palate, wine tasters necessarily oversimplify...
Esoteric Translation: 6. The Homeopathic Method
1. Ensure that the source text is in a language you do not understand. 2. Determine the precise length of the text. This can generally be estimated if the format and number of pages is known.
The New Respectable Nonbooks
One reaction to the turmoil that electronic books have wrought on the publishing world is the availability of ever more emphatically “physical” books. Historic typefaces are revived to adorn their covers, and irregular spacing sets out the long frontispieces.We have long been used to such books appearing in the stores around Christmas. These are high-concept books that are primarily...
I often go to an exhibition only to end up being far more impressed by the gallery than by the exhibition itself. There are very few works of art that can improve on the empty gallery. That perfectly empty space in the city, with its audacious dimensions. Sometimes a gallery has sufficient space and surplus whiteness so as to endow any art piece with an urgent grandeur. This was the case with...
Esoteric Translation: 7. The Hidden-Hand Method
Ensure the source text is in a language that you do not understand Decide on a price for the book Sell the book on Amazon Buy another book that costs the exact same amount. * You can also swap this at a second-hand bookshop but imprecision can easily creep in, leading to a less faithful translation. For a more precise translation, auction the book on Ebay, then bid for another book on Ebay. The...
Untranslatability is a big claim frequently made. There are those who insist that a word is untranslatable because they are not sufficiently familiar with the target language. Then there are those who are too familiar with the target language, the bilinguals, for whom—since they never learnt either language artificially—the two languages exist in...