The coder behind this fairly self-explanatory project is Peter Nitsch of Toronto design outfit Teehan+Lax. I’ll just say it’s not much like anything else I’ve seen in the, ahem, Ascii canon. As images drift and pulse — kinda like the Matrix, yeah, but much, much more — the effect is hypnosis, but also something else. One gets the strange sensation that a person could somehow get absorbed physically by these landscapes, just sink into the side of a building or through some concrete. Anything is possible. Images become code no matter what when they’re digitized, and here that is in mutated form with unexpected results.
In a blog post, Nitsch explains:
It’s no secret that – in some eternal quest to palliate my nostalgia – I’ve developed a mild obsession with text-mode art. Years ago, I learned all the relavent algorithms, techniques, and code pages in order to best simulate text-mode in modern browsers – an effort that resulted in (long since abandoned) projects like ASCIImeo and Flashterm. Recent explorations in bridging the digital-physical divide (plus a sense of withdrawal) have caused me to revisit image-to-text conversion with a quick experiment.
For many of us that have grown up with computers, text-mode art represents something deeper than nostalgia. It is an artform manifested from technological constraints, inspired by the same hacker ethos that build the early machines used to produce and view it. Fundamentally, it is both an expression and prisoner of the system it inhabits. This latest experiment attempts to free ASCII art from the confines of the screen and enable it to exist in physical space – with light and paint.
Try it out here.
Reach this writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.