Word Play

1989 Arnhem, Netherlands
Coauthors: Jeffrey Shaw, Dirk Groeneveld

Word Play is a permanent installation in the Stadstheater - the main theater in Arnhem, which stages both the classics and contemporary theatre.

Word Play is constructed of two LED text displays that are mounted on rails and motorized so they move back and forth. One display is horizontal and moves up and down; the other is vertical and moves left and right. They are mounted on a wall so that they cross each other as they are moving, and a variation in respective motor speeds ensures that the physical relationship between the two displays is always changing.

While these LED displays are moving, text passes through them. In effect, each display is a window on a virtual space of letters that form phrases derived from well-known theatre scripts by authors such as by Shakespeare, Schiller and Beckett. Each display receives its own random selection of texts, so as these literary citations scroll through the two moving LED displays they create unforeseen juxtapositions of words and meaning.