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Quotes Become Symbolic Geometric Art in ‘Aretephos’

New York-based philosopher Apostolos Stefanopoulos wants to turn famous writers and philosphers’ words into highly symbolic digital art.

by DJ Pangburn
May 9 2016, 6:40pm

Images courtesy the artist

In the last two centuries, many a writer's been interested in the look, shape, and overall visual flow of the word-as-object. Early (and later) concrete poets fashioned their poems into visual artworks, while Blaise Cendrars’ 1913 poem "The Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of Little Jehanne of France," which unfolded like an accordion and map, was given a sense of abstract motion by painter Sonia Delaunay. New York-based philosopher Apostolos Stefanopoulos has a rather different idea for turning words into art. With Aretephos, Stefanopoulos renders language into symbolic art through computer code written primarily in Python, then printed on Hahnenühle fine art paper.

“Quotes are by various philosophers, scientists, musicians, spiritualists, poets, and dramatists that have shaped humanity into what it is today,” Stefanopoulos explains on his website. "[A]rt can visually express words geometrically: lines as length, color as dominance, circles as continuity, and triangles as stationary objects in space-time. Words finally have a real visual presence; a new way to be understood and appreciated."

Stefanopoulos uses Aretephos to transform words from the likes of William Shakespeare, Friedrich Nietzsche, Oscar Wilde, and other writers and philosophers into computerized geometric art. The results are minimal and digital, but conceptually intriguing pieces of symbolic geometry.

“It is the blending of mathematics and art into a fluid living work of art,” he tells The Creators Project. “The world is how you perceive it, and this is how I see language. I thought to myself, language is abandoned in the art world, let me do something about it, and I did.”

Again, it’s not as if words were absent any visual presence in the past. Concrete poets certainly explored words as geometric shapes, and painters and media artists have used words artistically. Even something like James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake has a certain visual beauty and dream logic to it. But Stefanopoulos does hit upon a unique angle of the word as art, made so by the code in Aretephos.

Click here to see more work from Aretephos.

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