Alan Turing made flat

September 2000

I thought it fitting to re-render Alan Turing's official portrait algorithmically, with what is essentially a state machine, a subset of a turing machine. Lo, I've made turing recursive, I like to think he'd find that annoyingly funny. (The phrase turing machine is properly lower-cased above; one of the highest honors a mathematician can acheive is to become part of the mathematical lexicon.)

This isn't "ASCII art", nor is it typewriter art, though it intentionally has a low-brow take befitting that sort of work. It's not really teletype art, at all, as this was done on a "modern" (sic) unix computer -- it's fake teletype art, though it uses only the ITA2 character set appropriate to teletype symbolic machinery of Turing's time (Teletype art dates back to the early 20th century, popular amongst amateur radio operators, who would sometimes send titillating pictures to each other across the globe, via "nets" made of low-frequency radio; in other words, symbolic/machine pr0nz before there were intertubes, before modems, and decades before computers).

The images of the portrait, on this web page, are problematic; it was hard to photograph on the wall. The original is a high-resolution Postscript file; Postscript, which many people know of as a way to encode complex text documents, is actually a turing-complete programming language, is itself yet another layer of state-machinery. More puns on the fire.

Inkjet on glossy paper, 36"h x 48"w x 1"d, approx. 16 lb.