Matthew Hollett Translates bpNichol’s “The Complete Works”

As a visual artist who is interested in poetry and experimental literature, bpNichol has long been a source of inspiration. “The Complete Works” from “An H In the Heart” is one of my favourite poems; I love the way it epitomizes bp’s playful exploration of combinatorics, meta-literature, typography, and visual systems.

In “The Complete Works (after bpNichol)”, I sought to translate bp’s poem into the realm of digital imaging; in the same way that bp’s poem consists of every character on his keyboard, my image proposes every possible pixel colour. Wanting to echo the aesthetic of bp’s typewritten text, I displayed the image as if in an old Mac OS window.

I made “The Complete Works (after bpNichol)” in 2006. At the time I was working on “index of first lines”, a digital artwork in which I used PHP code to compile the first line of pixels from thousands of my digital photos. Much of my digital artwork involves mashing systems together, applying the rules or elements of one system to another to see what new systems emerge.


Matthew Hollett is a visual artist, web designer, and art educator. He is currently teaching at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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