Tuesday, November 13, 2012
ASCII Mona Lisa
My dad's desk was almost as untidy as my own is today. Perhaps more, in fact. One evening he came back clutching some piece of continuous sheet paper, the kind with perforations on the sides that would many, many years later be popular with users of dot matrix printers. He wanted to show me this thing -a print-out of the Mona Lisa done in what in much later times I would have called ASCII art, every trace of the drawing done with letters and punctuation signs. It's a glimpse into the future, he said. Soon we will have reached the moon, he said, and computers will help people realise amazing things, he said. I shrugged. So long ago, I don't know now whether I wasn't interested (this was not dinosaurs, or superman) or I just didn't get what he was going on about at the time. We ("we"?) did make it to the moon but never went back.p Computers are here, omnipresent in ways he couldn't possibly have imagined -but people use them mostly to gossip on facebook, to gawk at porn or play games. The future came and ... well, it was different. But then I suppose it had to be. There are always far more variables at play than we could possibly imagine.