A More Subtle Perplex

April 2014

Supported by National Endowment for the Arts

A More Subtle Perplex is an experiment in quasi-linguistic formalism, in gibberish. Borrowing and inverting techniques from computer science and analytic linguistics, it blindly strives to produce the outer appearance of language – to be all form and no content. The Perplex produces synthetic languages, or at least their syntactic forms, by writing letters to you. The production of the text and the production of a given language are interdependent.

Like most of Dean’s work, this is a serious joke. A lonely robot, desperately seeking to communicate in an endless series of idiolects, or a play on the abstract aesthetics of non-representational painting for a conceptual artist. And, like most of his work, it is a point on a line, or a member of a set — these examples are not the first, nor will they be the last iterations of the project to make excellent gibberish.

by Ben Dean


You can browse the texts online, and The Perplex is an open source project: you can fork it at Github.