reRead is an interactive digital projection installation by Simon Biggs. The work considers the relationship between reading and writing in a context where what is written is a consequence of the activity of reading. The installation employs live closed circuit video, video sensing, generative grammars and recursive image processing. On entering the work the viewer finds themselves electronically reflected in a life-size video projection composed of orthogonally opposed and reversed texts. The texts are constantly writing themselves into being, adapting their content and form in response to the viewer’s movements. The grammar engine that does this works only at the individual word level without any grammar model, the grammatic relations between words being determined using a simple best-fit neighbour algorithm. The texts that emerge, whilst seeming initially meaningful, are written without any sense of intent or contextual awareness, creating texts that are disassociated but nevertheless evocative. The system ensures the texts remain fully visible in the image at all times. As the texts grow in length they also get smaller, so as to fit across the screen. Eventually the texts become so small they approach single pixel size and eventually disappear, reappearing as entirely new large texts. The texts are reversed so they are most easily read by the viewer turning to face the mirror that is mounted on the wall opposite the projection. Employing recursive image processing, the visual field of the projection is composed of smaller tesselated versions of itself at different stages of development, allowing a visual mnemonic of the reading and writing process to emerge as a sort of palimpsest. This visual field is sensitive to the movement of the viewer, distorting as the viewer moves, creating an elastic surface in which the viewer is reflected. The system only writes when there is a reader/viewer present. When the viewer departs the area between the projection and the mirror the system enters a state of stasis.


Apple Macintosh computer running Snow Leopard OS X 10.6.x, minimum 2.5 GHz, 2 Gig RAM
5000 lumen video projector with resolution of 1024x768 (XGA) with ceiling mounting system.
Colour PAL 4:3 video camera with excellent low-light performance, Firewire out and manual override for all settings, with ceiling mounting.
10 metre (30 feet) firewire cable with correct 8 or 6 pin connector for specified computer.
10 metre (30 feet) component video cable (15 pin).
large portrait format mirror 2 metres (6 feet) high by 1.5 (5 feet) metres wide with wall mounting (mylar is OK, glass is better).
Two Fresnel 500 watt theatre spotlights with dimmers and barn doors (a choice of filters and gels would be very useful) with mounts.
The space should be around 8 metres deep, 5 metres wide and 4 metres high with white walls and be completely blacked out.