This scheduled poem is built around a quote from James Elkins’ 1999 book, The Domain of Images, in which he analyzes the blurred boundaries between images and writing. In this quote, he is focusing on a piece by Chu Ta (also known as Bada Shanren) in which a Chinese character is written / drawn in way that it can be simultaneously looked at as a flower and read as a word. The conclusion of Elkins’ analysis of this piece seems to have provided inspiration to Bell:
Visually, Bell is overlaying different typographical expressions of the same quote by Elkins: one in a serifed font and another smaller one in a sans serif font. Close attention to the differences between the two fonts, reveal how painterly serifs can be. The line breaks are also different, cutting prose into poetry. The scheduled presentation of this piece is used to add layers of formatting, such as italicizing the book title, or adding lines of color, or a handwritten text at the bottom of the window.
Bell is adding a few brushstrokes to the text, making it his own.
This hypermediated hypertext suite of poems make excessive use of background images, animated GIFs, and messily redundant code to render them deliciously unreadable and inviting. Bell weaves a dense mesh of lines, background images, and code to produce surfaces that are difficult to read at times, making us wonder if he’s aiming for felt rather than the finely stitched fabric of verse. Bell’s lines are witty and full of wordplay, non-repetitive reiterations, alliteration, and an inviting awareness of his strategies and questions. Follow the links to discover many other poems, in some of which he has the design audacity of using animated GIFs as background images.