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Earthwords © Andrew Senior 2006-8.

"Earthwords" is an exploration of the secret lives of texts.

Handwriting is a dying communication art as more and more of our communication is through typing and speech, yet until very recently the only way ideas could be preserved was by writing- whether as ink on paper or papyrus, chiseled in stone, or impressed on a clay tablet.

Hegel and Derrida have written about the idea of whether the act of writing is the end of the life of a symbol or an idea. Is a sentence, once written, inert? Or does the meaning of the written symbols continue to live on as read and interpreted by future readers? Earthwords, is a playful imagining of the life of a text, conceiving of the words as living entities that move around and interact in a creative ecosystem. In the video presented here, I have chosen a short text of Derrida writing about Hegel, but in an installation, longer texts can be explored with a sequence from one paragraph to another.

In this artificial life simulation, words are written by an invisible hand into the ecosystem. After forming fully, each word begins to explore its environment. As words meet each other, they join together where there is a natural affinity in the original text.

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