The Aleph: Infinite Wonder / Infinite Pity
March 7, 2013 9:09 AM   Subscribe

The Aleph: Infinite Wonder / Infinite Pity
Web art based on a Borges story.

The Aleph is a short story by Jorge Luis Borges in which a man is suddenly able to see all things at once:
"On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid..."
I wanted to present a version of what The Aleph might look like now, designed as an endless stream of descriptive passages pulled from the web. For source texts, I took the complete Project Gutenberg as well as current tweets. I searched for the phrase "I saw."
Role: creator
posted by gwint (6 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by Lorin on March 9, 2013: I saw tigers, pistons, bison, tides, and armies

This is really cool, but I think the Twitter stream is not searching deep enough or something because it's extremely repetitive to the point of sometimes showing the same tweet four or five times per page.
posted by theodolite at 9:32 AM on March 7, 2013

wow, so cool!! i love the blended gutenberg/twitter one
posted by raisindebt at 10:19 AM on March 7, 2013


theodolite, I've updated the code to remove duplicates. It definitely improves things but you'd be surprised how often people modify a character or two in a tweet to make it "unique."
posted by gwint at 10:46 AM on March 7, 2013

This is fantastic, I love stuff like this. I wonder what Borges would have made of the modern web.

For a follow-up project, you should mash-up Tumblr with The Book of Sand.
posted by oulipian at 12:33 PM on March 7, 2013

This is highly disturbing.

People look at some horrible stuff.
...I saw a dissected cat today. I saw a video of you hitting Danielle when you practi... lmfao i didnt hit danielle i promise you. liam pushed... I saw a crime serie yesterday, it was a police in Manchester, or something, with a lot of woman's, it was pretty good.

posted by cjorgensen at 12:33 PM on March 7, 2013

Whoops! Didn't think to check here before I posted it to the blue. Anyways, this is excellent.
posted by Lorin at 9:16 AM on March 10, 2013

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