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Each viewer is presented with the same visual information, but see different words and phrases across the 10 Nixie tubes.
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SIMULATED is a conceptual artwork in which Harris challenges the fidelity of the viewers’ objectivity when faced with the text on display and the extent to which they understand it. He explores the phenomenon of typoglycemia – the ability of the human mind to understand words even if the characters between the first and last are ordered incorrectly – to achieve the desired effect of simultaneous viewers perceiving different word combinations. The artwork adopts the format of a grid of characters. It is based on the technological nostalgia of Nixie tubes: the cold-cathode gas-discharge indicator tubes that were a common form of display for electronic equipment from the mid-1950s through to the early 1970s. They were used for numeric displays, using ten layers of digits (0–9) within each glass tube. Harris has designed and fabricated new tubes that, for the first time, contain alphabetic characters. Each of his Nixie tubes is identical and contains only the letters from the word ‘SIMULATED’ with an extra ‘O’ added. Harris selected these characters as, when scrambled, they create over 3,300 words from the English language, which is more than any other combination of letters. The resultant text and phrases are stimulating, amusing and, at times, cheekily offensive. Harris’s signature fascination with combining a variety of technology and electronics is evident within the hypnotic amber glow and antique charm of the Nixie tubes. But it is while watching SIMULATED churn endlessly through characters that his true intent is revealed, which is to highlight the obscuration of literary clarity and meaning, and to question how our media-saturated world might best be navigated.

"These minimum elements are just as diverse in Harris works, ranging from the individual pixels of a high resolution 4K screen, the melding of the photons output by light or the individual segments of a nixie tube as in his recent work from 2017, Simulated. In this work, the reputed phenomena of typoglycemia  is called into play so that the brain instinctively reads the “correct” words from the jumble of letters that periodically modify in the tubes, intermixing these notions of resolution and a capacity for the brain to find meaning in the chaos." [extract from expert essay by Sunny Cheung]




Edition of 8 + 2 Artist Proofs + 2 Museum Proofs


Nixie tubes, code, electronics, Corian, aluminium


⤣ view full series of this artwork

Dimensions in MM:

Dimensions with case:
770 (W) x 300 (H) x 145 (D) mm

Dimensions in INCHES:

Dimensions with case:
30.3 (W) x 11.8 (H) x 5.7 (D) inches

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