Custom software generates this interactive video installation. Each wall contains an animated matrix of letters that systematically expresses every possible word, recreating the proverbial monkey at a typewriter who writes Hamlet through random key punches.
The installation realizes Jorge Luis Borges’ utopian concept of the universal library, as it will eventually express every piece of knowledge, every work of literature and every mundane conversation – past, present and future – that can be imagined.
4Monkeys explores the intersection of art and philosophy, and it encourages direct participation. Visitors can enter strings of characters into the artwork, which generates new animations based on their input. The characters can be from any language that has a computer font. Letters swirl into complex patterns under the guidance of a mysterious logic.
The essence of this artwork is an enormous number of words – with 2 to the power of 26 possible combinations it will run until the end of time before repeating itself. It includes a sound environment built from coded spy messages found on short wave radio.
By guiding our awareness to the essential form of language, 4Monkeys creates an environment where all meaning is suspended yet every meaning is possible. It gives pure expression to the web of thought where the potential and the actual merge into a single stream of experience.
4Monkeys is available for exhibit in any darkened space using one or more video projectors. Ideally it coats every surface of the room with an undulating layer of text. Font, colors and animation speed can be specified. As an option visitors can enter text via keyboard, mobile telephone or the Internet.