The looming of expired existences/sentences lets plumes emerge from the edges.

Algorithmically generated photo collages. Computer-aided poetry with one page of Charles Babbage’s On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures as input.

― Book, 20 pages  ↷ PDF (3,5 MB) ― Physical copy on request.

Scan of the physical copy.

Physical copy. A5, hand-bound, laser print on recycled paper except 4 pages color print.

A concrete poem. Letters appear clumped together and words are not readable, except: “that power is” Colors: black on white. A concrete poem. Letters have skid marks. Only some words are readable: nature, change, other. Colors: black on white.

The concrete poems are generated with p5.js, a JavaScript library for creative coding. One sketch from Plumes is ↷ here.

The three photo collages are made using a Bash script (modified version of

For Availing the input text is first typeset as one long line. The result is one document with the measurements of 27.495×97 pixels. This strip is then cut into 500 pieces: The cutting point slowly moves forward along the strip while the width of the snippets changes in size, the change following a sine function. The snippets are assembled according to the cutting order.

Animation of the changing width of text snippets.

Code for cutting:


  br=-1 # start for the counter
  until [ $br -gt 498 ] # how many snippets will be produced (+2)
    ((br+=1)) # a counter
    be=`printf %03d $br` # prints 3 digits numbers (for naming files)
    mo=`awk -v x="$br" 'BEGIN {wv=sin(x/25)*100 ; printf wv < 0 ? -wv : wv }'`
    # defines a sine function and only prints absolute values of numbers
    mkdir -p cuts # creates directory for the snippets
    echo " Cutting … $br"
    magick babbage.png -gravity SouthWest \
    -crop "%[fx:97+$mo]"x97+"%[fx:w*($br*0.002)]"+0 \
    +repage cuts/$be.png # ImageMagick 7, cuts the image