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Jorge Luis Borges describes in his well-known short
story titled “The book of Sand”, an infinite book with no beginning and no end.
A countless array of pages numbered at random each time it is opened,
never the same. The writing is impossible to follow and only reveals fragments
of itself as the pages slip uncontrollably through the reader’s eager fingers.
I worked on Books of Sand in Buenos Aires during 2003 and 2004 following my residency at UCLA.
The cubes in Books of Sand
are interfaces involved in a tactile game; the sand is the background substance
for the unfolding of the hypertexts of which the Web’s vast dynamical memory is
constituted. The Web is an immense, dynamic network, connecting people
worldwide. It is considered a text, scattered in time and space,
inapprehensible as a whole, in perpetual change, the most complex and unpredictable
text ever written. The cubes enclose in a confined space a fragment of the
infinite information flowing through the web. It is immeasurable and never
ending, like the particles that make up the sand and the codes that form the
text. In Books of Sand the viewer has the possibility of handling what is
immaterial, can grasp an instant of it in the fist of a hand.
A camera captures images of the hands
in the sand, which are analysed by a real time image processing software
developed by Laurence Bender.The
sequence of images captured by the camera is conceived as a set or array of
numbers on which mathematical operations are made on the pixels in real time
for extracting what moves or appears in the image field. Once the significant
data of the movement of hands in each image is retrieved, the information is
mapped on texts kept in a database.