John Cayley’s “windsound” is an algorithmic work presented as a 23-minute recording of a machine-generated reading of scrambled texts. The cinematic work presents a quicktime-video of white letters on a black screen, a text written by Cayley with a translation of the Chinese poem “Cadence: Like a Dream” by Qin Guan (1049-1100). As a sensory letter-by-letter performance, the work sequentially replaces letters on the screen, so that what starts as illegible text becomes readable as a narrative, and then again loses meaning in a jumble of letters. Cayley calls this technique “transliteral morphing: textual morphing based on letter replacements through a sequence of nodal texts.” Sequences of text appear within up to 15 lines on the same screen, thus presenting and automatically replacing a longer text on a digitally simulated single page-a concept Judd Morrissey also applies in "The Jew´s Daughter." Unlike Morrissey’s piece, Cayley’s doesn´t allow the user to interact with the work. Instead the work appears as a self-sufficient text-movie with ambient sound, murmurs of voices, windsound and synthetic female and male voices reading the non-readable to the viewer. As with the shifting letters, narrative perspectives also morph and switch fluidly between the lyrical-I, Christopher, Tanaka or Xiao Zhang. Thus, the sentence: "‘We know,’" Tanaka had said in English/"‘Tomorrow if we meet/I will have to kill you myself/’" is, in the algorithmic process of the work, later spelled out by the I-narrator. At the very end of the work, John Cayley dedicates “windsound” to the memory of Christopher Bledowski. What remains after the black screen and a re-start of morphing letters before they vanish conclusively, is windsound. At a certain point in the movie the text says "you have to be/to stay/silent/to hear it," and it seems like the reader has to be silent, too, listening to what he cannot understand, patiently waiting for the moment of legibility.
(Source: Patricia Tomaszek)
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