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April 10, 2011 3:43 PM   Subscribe

Jörg Piringer presents all displayable characters in the unicode range 0 - 65536 (49571 characters). one character per frame.
posted by juv3nal (82 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is kind of the platonic ideal of tl;dr/tl;dw.
posted by eugenen at 3:49 PM on April 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


what the hell is that loop for the "music"

it's not even a drumline, it's like a synthesized washboard or something
posted by LogicalDash at 3:53 PM on April 10, 2011


I actually love the music in the background. It sorta reminds me of this.
posted by koeselitz at 3:58 PM on April 10, 2011


It's not music as such. I think it is a voice, announcing the name of each letter, but cut off immediately. It is definitely a voice... or once was.
posted by lichen at 3:59 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy shit. It's 33 minutes long? Okay, since YouTube is generally teh sux, I'll let it load and then watch.
posted by hippybear at 4:02 PM on April 10, 2011


He forgot the bullet. Option 8. Is that so hard to remember? •
posted by cjorgensen at 4:02 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's noise, arranged artfully by a human being with the intention of letting other human beings listen to it. That sounds like music to me.

I love the idea that it's a voice. Is there a reason you think that's definite?
posted by koeselitz at 4:02 PM on April 10, 2011


He forgot the bullet. Option 8. Is that so hard to remember? •

It's simple to forget if you're on a Windows machine.
posted by hippybear at 4:03 PM on April 10, 2011


wouldn't this be much better in comic sans?
posted by sexyrobot at 4:06 PM on April 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


Wow, the beat really drops around 5:40.
posted by koeselitz at 4:06 PM on April 10, 2011


At 0:38 you can see the lower case "a" is clearly Helvetica.
posted by Xoebe at 4:08 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone know what language that sequence of funky characters starting at ~23:58 is?
posted by juv3nal at 4:08 PM on April 10, 2011


Deep in the back streets of Barcelona there stands a small avant garde techno club where you can dance to this video's music while using the flickering letters for a lightshow.

While it plays the DJ inserts a tape into his ZX Spectrum ready to load River Raid for the next half hour's clubbing.
posted by Jehan at 4:09 PM on April 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


lichen: “I think it is a voice, announcing the name of each letter, but cut off immediately. It is definitely a voice... or once was.”

Holy cow, you're right! It becomes more and more obvious as the piece goes on.

This is seriously the most beautiful thing I've heard today. Wow.
posted by koeselitz at 4:10 PM on April 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


50k characters is mind boggling. Really neat.
posted by carter at 4:13 PM on April 10, 2011


It's like live action Jonathan Borofsky.

Very cool.
posted by chavenet at 4:17 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's the weird radial apostrophe thing at 0:44?
posted by zippy at 4:17 PM on April 10, 2011


Anyone know what language that sequence of funky characters starting at ~23:58 is?

i think it's one of the secret alphabets from futurama.
posted by sexyrobot at 4:18 PM on April 10, 2011


Funny, Koselitz, that soundtrack reminded you of the Alva Noto track; the video reminded me of the visuals from a an Alva Noto/Byteone I saw last year.
posted by activitystory at 4:19 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's the weird radial apostrophe thing at 0:44?

the coven of commas
posted by sexyrobot at 4:20 PM on April 10, 2011


How many FPS is the video?
posted by 47triple2 at 4:21 PM on April 10, 2011


activitystory: “Funny, Koselitz, that soundtrack reminded you of the Alva Noto track; the video reminded me of the visuals from a an Alva Noto/Byteone I saw last year.”

Yeah, that too, actually – the whole thing is really solidly in the Alva Noto aesthetic. Probably why I like it so much.
posted by koeselitz at 4:24 PM on April 10, 2011


It works out to roughly 25 characters per second, if anyone was wondering.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:27 PM on April 10, 2011


Ol Chiki is cool. But that's not the one at 23:58.
posted by sneebler at 4:29 PM on April 10, 2011


Man, ASCII was sure a lot easier.
posted by Malor at 4:30 PM on April 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


It works out to roughly 25 characters per second

So, in other words, PAL.
posted by hippybear at 4:31 PM on April 10, 2011


I thought the character development was great, bit the overall storyline was a bit of a wash.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:33 PM on April 10, 2011 [16 favorites]


Anyone know what language that sequence of funky characters starting at ~23:58 is?

Probably Yi.
posted by Jehan at 4:33 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's totally insane, but this film (both audio and visual) reminds me of the closing sequence to Rocky and Bullwinkle.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:45 PM on April 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


My favorite part so far is around the 1 minute mark, when the Arabic characters appear and the dots appear to dance around them.
posted by LSK at 4:46 PM on April 10, 2011


Turn it up to 1080p, sit back, light up an L. Pure bliss.
posted by ofthestrait at 4:48 PM on April 10, 2011


Turn it up to 1080p, sit back, light up an L. Pure bliss.

An L? Pray tell...
posted by lukievan at 4:59 PM on April 10, 2011


This video is way more beautiful than it has any reason to be. Here's the artist's description (spoiler: it's ffmpeg of PNGs, Helvetica on a Mac). He doesn't discuss the sound. Given the way the pitch changes over the course of the video I'm guessing it's connected to the Unicode codepoint number, but I can't explain the irregular rhythm. I like to think of it as a lost Autechre track.

I've long wanted to make a small multiples poster of all the Unicode glyphs. The trick is grouping them nicely; the CJK ideographs way dominate the space.
posted by Nelson at 5:05 PM on April 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's really cool.
posted by brundlefly at 5:15 PM on April 10, 2011


Can anyone who speaks the language of "Alien Nation" or "Enemy Mine" translate this for me?

mop mop mop
posted by bottlebrushtree at 5:21 PM on April 10, 2011


kawaiii ^__^
posted by brownpau at 5:23 PM on April 10, 2011


Z̺̭̱͉̥̟͙̈́̑͌͊̈́̓̅́A̶̵͚̥͉͈͛́̓͑͢L̝͇̱̼͉̄̄͡͡͡G̷̨̖̼̠̼͉ͥ̆͗́ͮͪͤ̕Ơ̢̘͙̼͔͗͐̂!̟̼̱̭͚̥͎̣ͦ͗̓̄̓ͪ͞
posted by 40 Watt at 5:23 PM on April 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


Nobody knows why.
posted by unSane at 5:33 PM on April 10, 2011


At least watching that I actually learned something, that the Korean writing system is actually a bunch of sets of 4 or so symbols in a single character. That's sort of brilliant.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:41 PM on April 10, 2011


Space Coyote, Hangul is pretty awesome, yes.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 5:45 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm just going to assume that video is about as interesting as it sounds.
posted by sanko at 5:47 PM on April 10, 2011


Yeah, Hangul is fascinating. From the wikipedia article:

"The shapes of consonant letters are based on the shape of the mouth and tongue in the production of that sound, sometimes with extra marks showing features such as aspiration. In addition, vowels are built from vertical or horizontal lines so that they are easily distinguishable from consonants."
posted by idiopath at 5:49 PM on April 10, 2011


I think watching that in full screen, with the colours reversed so that the letters are white, and in the dark, has done something to my brain. Especially the parts near the end with things that looked like distorted Latin characters.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:50 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aaaah! My epileps(*&%)P*_>>>>>
posted by leotrotsky at 6:05 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


So I'm spacing out with this flickering in front of me, and all of a sudden I see the point of origin symbol for Earth.

I never knew there were Stargate symbols in the unicode. I'm glad I watched this.
posted by yeolcoatl at 6:12 PM on April 10, 2011


Early Stargate (the TV series, not the movie) was very good science fiction: it's quite likely that the gate symbols were pulled from real languages.
posted by Malor at 6:26 PM on April 10, 2011


What frame is the Snowman?
posted by desjardins at 6:54 PM on April 10, 2011


Anyone know what language that sequence of funky characters starting at ~23:58 is?

Probably Yi.


Confirmed - that's Yi there. I'm sad they didn't touch the second plane of Unicode, though (characters 65536–131071); that's where all of the really fun stuff is, like the Bamum pictograms and the emoticons. The snowman is U+2603; it shows up around 3:44 in.
posted by wanderingmind at 7:00 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I now know how Dave Bowman felt after encountering the Monolith.
posted by MimeticHaHa at 7:02 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like this for a few reasons.

There are rhythms and forms that emerge from those embedded in the character sets and the placement of these sets beside one another. Of course the images have a style of sorts with imitation across the sets. These elements are presented with an indifference that actually heightens their charm, partly because no artfulness or intention stands in the way of appreciating the images of human languages or symbols and the richness of cultures. On the other hand, there's a sameness in that despite their differences or order, they are each members of a unicode universe.

Also, I like the story of unicode. It is one of those things you don't think about (or know about) when you are using it, yet a fairly intractable problem is solved by it. Taken care of! It reminds me of the best of human collaboration and cooperation.
posted by zangpo at 7:02 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's totally insane, but this film (both audio and visual) reminds me of the closing sequence to Rocky and Bullwinkle .

Get outta my head!

Ever since the DOS days, I've found myself humming that tune whenever some dBaseIII+ program would start doing some kind of hokey animation, intended or unintended, or when some sort of nightmare-fuel booting sequence goes off.

And gotten some strange looks in result...
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:03 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Great movie. But hard to keep track of all the characters.
posted by Jode at 7:06 PM on April 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


I can't believe how fascinating this is to watch. I watched about 6 or 7 minutes straight up before putting it in the corner and starting to read comments while it runs. I love the ghosting effect you get while it's running through uppercase-lowercase-uppercase-lowercase for the various letters with all the accent marks. I love watching the common radicals wiggle as it runs through the Chinese characters. In this font, there seem to be several variations of each radical depending on the rest of the character, so you get that odd wiggling effect instead of part of it just holding still.

At first I thought the clicks were procedurally generated from the characters themselves, but now, I'm pretty sure that it's from the number of the character. I think that each character gets a series of clicks of varying pitches, where each pitch represents another digit in the representation (I don't know which base they're using). Every time they need to add another digit, the sound gets more frantic because there are more clicks. You can really hear the scale of the increasing ones digit about halfway through.

I'm currently about 20 minutes in. Typing this has been really slow as I get distracted by the wiggling characters.

Anyone know what font this is?
posted by ErWenn at 7:10 PM on April 10, 2011


Beautiful. Love watching the radicals quiver as the CJK ideographs zoom by.

What's the weird radial apostrophe thing at 0:44?

Combining Cyrillic Millions sign
posted by gubo at 7:10 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nevermind about the font. I just realized that Nelson already answered that question.
posted by ErWenn at 7:11 PM on April 10, 2011


I'm currently watching the oddball Korean characters near the 25-minute mark... What's up with those? Admittedly, my knowledge of Hangul is minimal and my knowledge of Korean is even smaller, but I don't recognize some of those jamos* at all. Are they for non-native sounds or something?


*What is the plural of jamo?
posted by ErWenn at 7:19 PM on April 10, 2011


Reminds me of several years ago, getting really into numbers stations for a while (particularly the ones that weren't voices reading numbers, but rather long strings of clicks and tones). The soundtrack, I mean. Just that pareidolia feeling of there being tremendous but unknowable information there.
posted by penduluum at 7:37 PM on April 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


25 thrills per second!
posted by gorgor_balabala at 8:03 PM on April 10, 2011


I knew that the CJK symbol set was large, but I never really realized just how huge it is until this video. Damn.
posted by kenko at 9:02 PM on April 10, 2011


All unicode characters on one page. Warning: can stress browser.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:31 PM on April 10, 2011


All unicode characters on one page. Warning: can stress browser.

Is there an 'NSFB - not safe for browser' tag? 'Cause there's no way I'm clicking on that.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:39 PM on April 10, 2011


I wonder how this was generated. I'd love to have sort of an opposite version, with the entire set blended across 8 hours with slow dissolves between characters. The perfect thing to let run on a video screen during a party.

Also: Unicode as wallpaper, 12'x6', including TIF download, 22,017×42,807 pixels (from previously)
posted by hippybear at 9:45 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nevermind about the font. I just realized that Nelson already answered that question.

It is Helvetica, I guess, but I wonder if it's even fair to say that. Some of the Cherokee characters, for instance, look like they're supposed to be regular letters, but they have serifs.
posted by juv3nal at 9:48 PM on April 10, 2011


Not meaning to be overly Romanist, but it's a neat reminder of just how much we can get done with 26 characters.
posted by bicyclefish at 10:12 PM on April 10, 2011


I think this other video by the same artist is quite interesting, too. Here is his writeup giving a bit more explanation of what is going on.
posted by hippybear at 10:16 PM on April 10, 2011


koeselitz, I was thinking of Alva Noto too!
posted by azarbayejani at 1:53 AM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there an 'NSFB - not safe for browser' tag?

Is my browser crap?
posted by ryanrs at 1:54 AM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love the idea that it's a voice. Is there a reason you think that's definite?

None, I'm lying about it being definite. However, on the chinese characters you can "just tell" that it's a voice. (imo)
posted by lichen at 2:20 AM on April 11, 2011


It's totally insane, but this film (both audio and visual) reminds me of the closing sequence to Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Eh, it's more like the Enter The Void credits.
posted by fungible at 5:46 AM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


So... what do I do if I get lots of boxes on the page that Rhomboid and ryanrs linked? I'm running Chrome 10 on Win XP and the encoding for the page is Unicode (UTF-8). I tried changing it to Unicode (UTF-16LE) but all the formatting went away and the page was almost entirely in Chinese.
posted by desjardins at 8:45 AM on April 11, 2011


desjardins: it means you don't have all the fonts installed. Unicode rendering often mixes multiple fonts for various ranges. The Microsoft Ariel font should be able to render it all though, try switching to that font and see if that fixes it?
posted by idiopath at 9:15 AM on April 11, 2011


hippybear: "I wonder how this was generated."

If I were making it I would use a scripting language and loop through the numbers from 0 to 65535. For each number I would coerce it to a unicode character datatype, test if it is printable, and if so I would use the imagemagick program to generate an image with a rendering of that character and a numeric filename (00000.png, 00001.png 00002.png ... 65535.png). Finally, ffmpeg is able to turn a directory full of images into a movie (it simply sorts them alphanumerically and uses them as frames in that order).
posted by idiopath at 10:00 AM on April 11, 2011


Eh, it's more like the Enter The Void credits

That looks fun. The issue is, do I watch it on DVD, or is this a movie that really needs a big screen? (Yes, ryanrs, not only is my browser crap, my TV is smaller than 40 inches.)

But that's given me a wonderful idea. Someone, somewhere, should do an IMAX showing of this Unicode movie. With THX1138 surround sound. I would love to go to it. Not so much for he movie itself, but more to see what the crowd that showed up looks like.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:01 AM on April 11, 2011


mesmerizing
posted by Dead Man at 10:22 AM on April 11, 2011


all displayable characters in the unicode range 0 - 65536 (49571 characters)

Does that mean there are about 16,000 undisplayable characters in this range? If so, what are they?
posted by lukemeister at 10:33 AM on April 11, 2011


I don't know about the bulk of the 16,000 characters, but one good example is the byte order marker.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:24 AM on April 11, 2011


lukemeister: there are many "combining characters" that add features to adjacent symbols (used extensively in Tibetan script, and the source of Zalgoized text).
posted by idiopath at 11:38 AM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huh. So really the way to do my 8-hour version wouldn't be to make it a movie, but would be to make screen-sized .png files for each character, drop them in a directory, and then set up a slideshow program or something to do a fade transition ever X interval.

Cool. I may try that sometime. I see I can download the character set...
posted by hippybear at 6:16 PM on April 11, 2011


wanderingmind,

I can't wait for the director's cut, which is rumored to include the second plane of Unicode.
posted by lukemeister at 9:33 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, all of the non-printable unicode characters in one line:


posted by tehloki at 1:06 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Unicode 6.0 slide show, in your browser. Javascript version using your browser and its fonts.
posted by Nelson at 3:03 PM on April 16, 2011


Someone has attempted a more comprehensive version.
posted by joeclark at 10:10 AM on April 20, 2011


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