Fehler | Imbecil

PHP + GD Library | F.0030.0001 / Alku 31

"Given all the elements of the known universe, and enough time, our existence is inevitable. It's no more mysterious than trees or sharks. We're a mathematical probability, that's all."

Dr Chris Kelvin, Solaris

In 'Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote' the Latin American author Jorge Luis Borges writes a short story about a writer, Pierre Menard, who by sheer weight of coincidence (re)writes 'Don Quixote', word for word.

Borges states that his "admirable intention was to produce a few pages which would coincide - word for word and line for line - with those of Miguel de Cervantes." By sheer weight of coincidence, however, and against the odds, he succeeds not only in writing a few pages, but the entire novel.

In another short story, Borges imagines 'The Book of Sand', a magical tome whose pages can only ever be viewed once. Try as its owner might to find a previously witnessed page, he soon realises that the pages that cascade through his eager hands will never be seen again:

"I turned the leaf; it was numbered with eight digits. It also bore a small illustration, like the kind used in dictionaries - an anchor drawn with pen and ink, as if by a schoolboy's clumsy hand. It was at this point that the stranger said, 'Look at the illustration closely. You'll never see it again.' I noted my place and closed the book. At once, I reopened it. Page by page, in vain..."

'Imbecil' is at once the former and the latter; the odds favouring neither one nor the other.

Fällt designers Fehler state:

"Systems - and the flaws, mistakes and accidents that often arise from them - form the cornerstone of our working practice, so designing something systemic, but seemingly broken seemed a natural choice. Needless to say, when Ana and Roc at Alku invited us to create a useless piece of software for 'Imbecil' we were happy to contribute."

The result is a simple concept - a random icon generator that creates one bit icons in Apple's early Macintosh era 32 x 32 pixel size.

Susan Kare | Orignal Macintosh Icons

The number of possible icons the generator can create is no fewer than, 2 to the power of 1,024:

1797693134862315907729305190789024733617
9769789423065727343008115773267580550096
3132708477322407536021120113879871393357
6587897688144166224928474306394741243777
6789342486548527630221960124609411945308
2952085005768838150682342462881473913110
5408272371633505106845862982399472459384
79716304835356329624224137216

While 2^1024 might at first glance appear a staggering number, there exists the possibility - slim but inevitable - that the random icon generator might stumble over, overlap and/or collide with the beautiful designed reality of Susan Kare's original Macintosh icons (above). Hit 'refresh' repeatedly and often enough and it certainly will.

Macintosh icons used with the kind permission of Susan Kare. Value of 2^1024 provided by Google Answers. Alku's 'Imbecil' FAQ.

'Imbecil 2.0' - an icon generator for full colour, OS X style icons - is currently being developed by Fällt designers Fehler in conjunction with Fällt developer Nicholas Kove. We hope to release it in early 2007.



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