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Relearning to Read

Research output: Exhibits, objects and web-based outputsExhibition

Published
Publication date2017
PublisherGrundy Art Gallery
Media of outputOnline
Sizehttp://torquetorque.net/publications/relearning-to-read/
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This exhibition at The Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool, functioned as an alternative library-like space, asking how artists can offer different and experimental ways of reading and writing which might help us navigate the new textual environments we now inhabit.

Many of the works played with the space between more traditional print-based and analogue media and newer digital technologies.

It was funded jointly by the Grundy, Blackpool City Council and Arts Council England.

The exhibition's major commission was The Rereader, an installation produced by Nathan Jones, Sam Skinner and Tom Schofield. It was developed out of research first published in the APRJA journal, on the potential of speed readers and screen based text to inaugrate new aspects on reading. Audiences were invited to bring along their own books or borrow books from the library next door, to use on this new “reading machine”. To activate the machine, readers placed their book on a scanner which converted their analogue text to digital, which was in turn translated into a speed reading display. The scanned text was then analysed using a form of AI looking for ‘interesting’ words and then reformulated into text that the computer attempted to write and communicate with. In turn, this artwork was an interpretation of research ongoing with clinical neuroscientist Alex Leff since Torque Editions publication of his chapter in The Act of Reading (2015).

The exhibition was curated by Nathan Jones and Sam Skinner, as Torque Editions. Along with The Rereader it included several new artworks from this collaborative partnership, including a Microfiche Web Browser of Torque's browsing history, and a speed reader version of their paper Absorbing Text, first performed at Transmediale Festival 2017. The exhibition also featured two new "post digital" works by Jones, remediating the speed reader interface -- through a VR headset ("I can read to things at once") and via a flipbook; and a small group show of work by Erica Scourti, Emily Speed, Anna Barham and Nicolas Maleve.

We also hosted a symposium during the event, including contributions from world class artists and thinkers around issues raised by the show.