Overboard is an example of literal art in digital media that demonstrates an “ambient” timebased poetics. The work is installed as a dynamic linguistic “wall-hanging,” an ever-moving “language painting.” As time passes, the text drifts continually in and out of familiar legibility— sinking, rising, and sometimes in part, “going under” or drowning, then rising to the surface once again. It does this by running a program of simple but carefully designed algorithms which allow letters to be replaced by other letters that are in some way similar to the those of the original text. In fact, except when “drowning,” the text is always legible to a reader who is prepared to take time and recover its principles. Giles Perring has provided generative music for the piece that follows similar procedures.

John Cayley

born in Ottawa, works as a poet, translator, sinologist, and publisher in London. He is the founding editor of Wellsweep, a small press which has specialized in literary translations from Chinese, and he is known internationally for his writings on network and programmable media. In 2001 he won the Electronic Literature Organization’s Award for Poetry.

Giles Perring

is a composer, musician, and multimedia artist based in London. He was a founder of the sonic sculpture project, Echo City, in 1983 and is half of the band, Unmen. His recent multimedia work includes the broadband interactive drama, What We Will (2001), made with John Cayley and Douglas Cape, and his performance project, The Exchange (2001-2003), which combines live performance with the potential of mobile phones.

> John Cayley 
> Giles Perring