Here’s hoping

Palm art

Dig this: The artist Tom Kemp drew 1,000 little paintings on his Palm Vx, using the TealPaint program. Then he assembled them into a 100 x 10 grid, and produced a piece of artwork called Analysis, which is 4 feet high and 16 feet long.

It’s weirdly mesmerizing. It’s like a modern riff on pointillization. Except in this case, it uses the atomic unit of digital life — a single screen of data on a Palm, a little brick of reality we spent so much time staring at all day long.

I love the idea of using PDAs for art. I once had the idea of doing an art project where you create a digital novel of an imaginary person’s life, using the Palm software. You’d create their memos, their calendar, their contacts — the artifacts of a life lived. Then you beam it to someone to “read”; except, in this case, the reader would just poke around in the various bits of data to get a sense of who this fictitious person was, and what their life was like. It’d be like finding a diary on the subway, and leafing through it.

(I first saw Analysis a year ago, but forgot about it until recently Memepool posted about it.)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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