Pierre Maybe imagine a human having a perception of a vector for the first time: a pregnant woman walks
on the flat surface of a beach, to the background of the sunset. She hunts birds with a bow and an arrow. As
she bends the bow, she feels how its straight rope interacts with the sturdiness of the bones of her arm and
how the curved wood of the bow is in sync with the fibers of her muscles. All those straight and curved lines,
along with the soft arc of her thick belly, are also drawn by the sun as her shadow stretches on the sand. She
launches the arrow. The arrow itself could be seen as a vector-wave-movement. She also feels how rays of sun
project her transformed shape of her shadow on the sand, following another straight line. She looks more closely
at the border of the shadow, and sees the very moment where some grains of sand get lightened by the sun, like
many corpuscules-pixels-bitmap, envisioning in simultaneously the two main components of digital images, and
t two ways of describing tangible matter.
Pierre There are two matters within the digital, the molecular, which we recognise as bitmap and know
very well, and the ondulatory – the vectors. I want to not only utilise vectors, but also to go anthropological
about them. From that perspective I can tackle what is important in the aesthetics vectors create, beyond what
things look like and into the way they operate and influence our own operations.
Ludi I have the need to include the body in the investigation of digital typography, because through intimate
relations with vectors, we can trace back histories of writing that depended on the body and its movement.
Ludi The body has its own intelligence. When I put, for example, the tension of the curve into this awkward body,
some aspects of the digital practice become apparent in a way that I can't put the finger on, but I feel
that only the body can detect.
Ludi OSPies like dancing. But we do end up sitting on a chair when ever we deal with type design. Its
maybe a fantasy to think that such different modes of being could come together in an interesting way, but here
we are, using one practice to reflect on and activate the other.
Gijs With Metapost, the human becomes the choreographer and the machine is the dancer, interpreting and
improvising with the score.
Gijs Actually, a vector is a meta picture. Only when rendered it becomes a shape.
Adva So, could we say that vectors are like movements?
Gijs Yes, in this case the movement is a rendering device.
Adva Maybe both movement and vectors are potential, actualised through rendering processes, by the body,
by the machine, by anything they activate?
Pierre I find both dance and graphic design poetic practices, but sometimes I felt we killed their poetry
by forcing them to interact with each other.
Ludi We slowed the rendering process down so much in order to look into the process it facilitates. Maybe
that's what killed the poetry?
Adva I find poetry in the fact that we sometimes look at those technical processes through the perspective
Gijs If you think of programming from the perspective of movement, for exemple loops, the time it takes
to execute the code, the electrons jumping, freezing, flowing, interacting through the processor - all become
interesting in a different way.
Adva I understood at a certain point that Up Pen Down is not a linear research, but rather an environment
we created for ourselves where methods, actions and questions we come up with can interact with pieces of art,
of knowledge, of completed or unfinished explorations of others within the field. Up Pen Down is for me more
of a place to be, than a well studied research question.
Adva By allowing different body practices to infiltrate one another, contemporary dance went through various
exciting waves of new discoveries about movement. At a certain point the body withdrew and the conceptualisation
of movement entered the field. I ask myself if there is something new to find about movement through looking
for it within digital processes and if yes, can it maybe generate a new way of thinking body and of making dance?
Adva I read once a Kabalah text about the letter . Sometimes this letter is used to indicate the name
of god. In that case, it should be written, but not pronounced. Its not because it represents god, but because
they believe that the letter itself, when written, contains divine power that is lost in the transformation through
the body from the written to the spoken. I like the idea of a letter carrying its own agency. This story is taken
from a mystical culture, but also on the more up-pen-downish level, we create texts, choreographies and technologies
that at a certain point become existing in themselves and start a relationship with us.