LEXICON LIBER NOVUS

Lexicon Liber Novus v.2.0, Heart of Darkness [On Cosmogony], U10 Art Space, Belgrade, 2018



generated book
3924 pages, 2016

Lexicon Liber Novus, is an algorithmically generated book that starts with a verse from the first of the Two English Poems written by Jorge Luis Borges in 1934.

"We talked and you have forgotten the words."

Following a rule that every word is unknown, the algorithm indexes and explains all the words in the given sentence, all the words in the explanations, all the words in those explanations and so on. First word in the verse starts with an assigned reference to number one, second word to number two and as a new, unindexed word comes up - within the definitions of previously indexed words, it gets the next natural number assigned in order to be explained as well.

Using the order of natural numbers for indexation and arrangement of contents, and an Oxford English Dictionary as a source of word definitions, the book encompasses 47.152 indexed words and more then 2 million processed words overall. Therefore, in order to explain the first 8 words, 47.144 other words needed to be explained as well. Spiral or causal arrangements of the contents means the book can be seen as a self-contained world where every point is intrinsically connected to every other.

Project collaboration

[software development] Jan-Kees van Kampen is an artist, composer and programmer who’s work focuses on sound wave asa the source of a dynamical system. He is interested in procedural creativity, physical phenomena and human bias. A member of the Schreck Ensemble for electro-acoustic music, and Powerbooks Unplugged (a networked live-coding band), he is also teaching at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam and the Institute fur Medien und Music (RHS) in Dusseldorf.

[assistance in print preparation] Gabor Kerekes
[print and support] Repro- van de Kamp, The Hague
[hand-binding] Bronsgeest HABI, Leidschendam