The idea of a signal-to-noise ratio – the amount of useful information or signal strength compared to the amount of useless background noise – becomes the central metaphor in the operation of Valdeolmillos’ page_space. As Valdeolmillos’ describes his piece, “The main idea was to develop some sort of text reading pad, with certain similitudes to design or technical environments, that would allow one to play with the concept of the “signal-to-noise ratio” present in telecommunication theory. So basically the system lets the user visualize a poem, with its verses scattered randomly on a grid, and allows one to play with the environment itself by panning & zooming around the text in order to read it. By zooming in or out we gain access to the overall picture (symbolized by… a picture) or to individual words and verses, but not both at the same time (hence the “signal vs. noise” choice).”
Two texts (including images) have been produced for the Signal2Noise space, which inhabit Valdeolmillos’ page_space in startlingly distinct ways — one by Jason Nelson entitled “Lines” and this one by Lluis Calvo entitled “Insects.” These different texts inhabit Valdeolmillos’ page_space in startlingly distinct ways. In “Insects,” readers feel themselves reduced to the perception of a bug as they buzz about the text, one moment almost landing upon the individual words of Calvo’s poem, in another, swirling into the space above and beyond its ability to signify.