‘ St ry f ’ or ‘ o o O’
A5 hard bound publication and pdf, 43 pages.
‘ St ry f ’ is an attempt to link (without doing any actual writing myself) constrained writing practices (such as E.V Wright’s ‘Gadsby’, with redaction, taking the different ways in which a document can be formatted and read (by machine or human) that on the surface look identical but are soft or hard encoded differently.
In keeping with the fact that I have not read Gadsby, or any other constrained writing novels such as La Disparition or A Void, I used another book I haven’t read to play with this discrepancy between hard and programmatic reading of information. I have made two copies of this novel. One copy is redacted, the other expunged, both of which when ‘eyeballed’ appear to have removed every letter of the alphabet except ‘o’ but with spacing and punctuation preserved.
Redaction took the form of using a search and replace function in an open source word processing package to highlight all but one of the letters of the alphabet and given the font a white colour. Simple manipulation of the digital text via a document reader (such as highlighting all) still reveals the underlying text.
The physical hard copy went through a process of font colour redaction of 25 letters of the alphabet in a word processor, exported as a PDF and sent to a printer. The printers sent me a helpful email to inform me that they could not print the white text as they do not stock white toner. A version where the redacted portions are printed with white toner on white paper is for another day then.
The digital file was expunged of 25 of the letters of the alphabet, maintaining spacing and punctuation. Whilst to a computer they contain different information, opened and looked at, or indeed printed ‘as is’, by a human they ‘read the same’ to the human eye.