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 Lluis Calvo entitled “Insects,” and this one by Jason Nelson entitled “Lines.” These different texts In Jason Nelson’s version, “Lines,” the added visual, audio and textual elements create a cacophony, a sensual blurting of noise that both impedes the reception of the signal while augmenting the production of new association.