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'Four Letter Words' Robotic Sculpture Fond of Foul Formulations

New York-based artist and programmer Rob Seward's 'Four Letter Words' electronic sculpture will spell out dirty words at you (No fear, it also does nice ones, too). A series of small fluorescent tubes move about to form an angular typeface of shifting verbiage. Seward explains the origins of the words in his artist statement:
The piece displays an algorithmically generated word sequence derived from a word association database developed by the University of South Florida between 1976 and 1998. The algorithms take into account word meaning, rhyme, letter sequencing, and association.
But the algorithm tends to display malevolent or crude words more often than nice ones, which is "influenced by a variety of language and perception studies, especially Elliot McGinnies's 1949 study 'Emotionality and Perceptual Defense,'" he writes. We've seen this kind of database-driven display in the works of Ben Rubin, but we love the added robotic element. From what we can tell, it looks to be an Arduino processor running the sculpture's individual letter units, which "can be connected ad-infinitum, and are theoretically capable of displaying any length of text." Check out a video of the work after the break. [From: Rob Seward, via: Rhizome]

Tags: arduino, art, ben rubin, BenRubin, rhizome, rob seward, robot, RobSeward, sculpture, top