Coder’s algorithmic alphabet is nothing more than gibberish, but it looks real

What do you get when you cross generative art, linguistics, coding, and an attempt to troll future historians? Probably something a lot like a new project created by a 26-year-old U.K.-based coder and artist who goes by the name Atticus Bones.

Using JavaScript, he recently came up with a way to generate a strange, otherworldly looking alphabet that appears believably handwritten. It’s quite literally nonsense, but it’s intriguing nonsense that appeals to the same nerdy part of our character that would happily spend hours trying to learn a language like Dothraki or Klingon.

“I used JavaScript to randomly draw 50 percent of the segments in a predefined layout,” Bones told Digital Trends, likening it to the numbers on a digital clock display. “The segments are then merged into words, which are smoothed to add variation and create ligatures between the letters to resemble handwriting. I then optimized the order and path direction of the lines for use with a pen plotter, and also animated the writing effect using CSS.”

algorithm spews fake language sample

Bones explained that he has done projects to randomly generate symbols before, which ended up looking “very clean and modular, like bold lettering on the hull of an alien spaceship.” This was his first attempt at creating something looser and more organic. In essence, it’s a false script that’s complete gibberish, but believable as a writing system. It’s pretty neat — particularly when you watch it being physically drawn out on paper using the aforementioned pen plotter.

“Random numbers and asemic writing are two things I’m super-interested in, and this project is a marriage of both of my interests,” he said. “It’s a language created by chaos. Generative art is a way of visualizing probability and variation. I like to explore the combinations that can be made from modular elements and see the possibilities.”

As to what’s next, Bone said that he’s “considering printing an entire book of nonsense like this, just to fuck with some poor translator in the future.”

So a Voynich manuscript for the 4chan generation? We can get on board with that! If normies get annoyed by being antagonized by people living in their own time period, we can only imagine the levels of outrage when some future linguistic expert discovers they’ve been trolled by a person who lived hundreds of years ago. “Teh Lulz,” indeed.

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