In Marcus Boon’s book In Praise of Copying, the author recalls a personal conversation with new-media theorist Julian Dibbell in which Dibbell says the following regarding bits:
“We tend to think of bits as these sort of atomic, on-or-off monads, but they are usually represented as two different voltage levels—1 being thus-and-such a voltage, 0 being another. And since there’s usually a gap between the levels, and large numbers of electrons involved in determining a given voltage, there’s lots of room for physical difference at the electron level between two digitally equivalent bits. Digital information really is nothing more or less than a form of writing. Just about any question you ask about bits can be illuminated by asking it about script, I find. So: “How different can two electronically coded 1’s be?” is sort of like asking how different two 1’s written on a page can be. The answer to the latter is: very different indeed, as the disciplines of typography, calligraphy, and handwriting analysis attest. The “invisibility” of electronic code makes it sort of opaque to these disciplines. But is it impossible to imagine that there might one day be a sort of calligraphy of the bit?”
I really loved this ending phrase and began thinking of what a work titled Of Bits might look like. I decided on a study on the variations of period (.) symbols across all the fonts that came pre-loaded with the then-current (2010) version of Open Office.
This piece was eventually printed on a 24” x 36” piece of bond paper and given as a gift to some friends.