“SIMULATED” is a conceptual artwork in which Harris challenges the fidelity of the viewers’ objectivity between what text is being displayed and what text is being understood.
Harris employs the phenomenon of typoglycemia – the ability of the human mind to understand words even if the letters between the first and last characters are ordered incorrectly – to achieve the desired effect of simultaneous viewers perceiving different word combinations.
The artwork adopts the format of a grid of characters. Electro-mechanically, it is based on the technological nostalgia of Nixie tubes – the cold-cathode gas-discharge indicator tubes which were a common form of display for electronic equipment from mid-1950’s through to the early 1970’s. They were used for the numeric displays, using 10 layers of digits (0-9) within each glass tube. Harris has designed and fabricated new tubes that, for the first time, contain alphabetic characters.
Each of his Nixie tubes are identical, and inherently limited to display the letters from the word ‘SIMULATED’ with an extra ‘O’ added. Harris selected these characters as, when scrambled, they create over 3,300 words from the English language – more than any other combination of letters. The resultant text and phrases displayed are stimulating, amusing and, at times, cheekily offensive.
Dominic Harris’ signature fascination with fusing arrays of technology and electronics is evident within the hypnotic amber glow and antique charm of the Nixie tubes. But it is within the act of watching “SIMULATED” churn endlessly through characters that he reveals his true intent – highlighting the obscuration of literary clarity and meaning, and the inherent question of how to navigate through a media saturated world.