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SprawlCode: descriptions

By Christopher Burnett
Rochester, New York: Preacher's Biscuits Books, 2006. Edition of 100.

5.75 x 5"; 402 pages. Set in Monaco and Minion Pro. Includes bibliographical references and index. Bound in black boards with blind embossed title on front board.

SprawlCode: "The text of this book was set using custom software to assign, with HTML tags, grayscale values to each letter. The pages were converted to the RTF format and laid out in Adobe InDesign for publication."

Preacher's Biscuits: "Chris Burnett has been wrestling with language in relation to places since the early 1990's. Over time, he developed a software that enabled him to make pictures of places out of bodies of texts. For Burnett, these word-pictures 'form a patter, a linguistic snapshot of sprawl ... an unruly growth principle, interlinking the edges of city and highway, story and image, computer code and text.' SprawlCode: descriptions is his most comprehensive statement to date. It is an enigmatic manual that brings together over 350 descriptions of sprawl in 14 separate chapters with an illuminating preface and image index."

Chris Burnett, foreword: "As in a literary stream of consciousness, gaps and dropouts punctuate the landscape. The flow is an effect of standing away in time and taking it in at a distance, just as the lo-res picture on each page of this book may only come clear by holding the book at arm’s length and squinting one's eyes. The discontinuities are not just spaces between marks but also gaps left by signs and things that drop away and are forgotten. In terms of sprawl-places, such absences may be odd lots, bull-dozed neighborhoods, or extinct features of the landscape. In terms of language-use on the Net, they may be obsolete words, anachronistic expressions, out-of-date articles, and textual remnants of archives. Whole languages that are becoming extinct in global culture may have the Web as their only place of refuge. Like a television image from a distant signal fading-in and fading-out, potentially extinct forms of language may appear and disappear in the Web. This book attempts to fix some of them on the page while also suggesting their transitoriness....

"As a textual form of flânerie and image capture, this book finally poses sprawl as a theory of experience. Experience is no more and no less than a vibrant, scattered process of urban becoming that gives rise to associated patterns of thought and language behavior. Though already obsolete, I hope this book will provide a suggestive manual for a landscape text that is yet to be."

SprawlCode: descriptions

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