Style Guide for Erasing Human Dignity

An augmented book

Style Guide for Erasing Human Dignity: Linguistic strategies for a broken world

This satirical grammar book comments on the contemporary American political climate.

ELO2018 Exhibit


Electronic Literature Organization Conference
ELO2018: Attention á la Marche! Mind the Gap! Exhibit
Centre de Design
Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
Montreal, QC, Canada
August 13-17, 2018

Conference information:

Some pages are augmented. Some pages are torn.


Electronic Literature Organization Night of Readings and Performances
Babycastles Gallery
New York, NY
January 6, 2018

Style Guide for Erasing Human Dignity

About the project:

Style Guide for Erasing Human Dignity responds to the current political climate in America through a facetious writing guide mixed with poetry and fragments of narrative. The images within it trigger more narrative commentary when viewed through an augmented reality app.


Looking at the augmented reality book
Style Guide for Erasing Human Dignity (augmented screenshot, via Layar)
Style Guide for Erasing Human Dignity (augmented screenshot, via HPReveal)

The style guide was inspired by a 2017 news article about the suggestion to modify language when applying for White House funding. This prospect is incredibly dangerous; what protections disappear when language is changed or erased? Spanish-language and LGBT resources were removed from, for example. The Style Guide for Erasing Human Dignity: Linguistic strategies for a broken world comments on contemporary political issues through the proposal of new linguistic strategies. Why not just conflate similar words (climate and weather, for example)? Why not redefine words (“accountability” as “the ability to effectively run your social media account,” perhaps)?

This satirical style guide proposes seven such recommendations for modifying language, along with poetry, fragments of narrative, torn pages and (augmented) images of burning books.

Troubleshooting and FAQ:

Q: How do I view the augmented content?
A: You can view the augmented content in either Layar or HPReveal. First, download the app — both are free, cross-platform and easy to use! In HPReveal, follow user “Laura Zaylea” (Laura Zaylea’s Public Auras). View the images through your smart device — that’s all you need to do!

Q: The auras won’t appear… What do I do?
A: Make sure you have enough light, and are connected to the internet. If it still won’t work, try holding your phone at a different angle, and make sure there is no glare/reflection on the book. If you are using HPReveal, please make sure you are following “Laura Zaylea’s Public Auras.”

Q: Some of the pages are torn! Is this on purpose?
A: Yes! Hint: Read the augmented story triggered by the burning book with the butterfly… Language is erased, ignored, and yes, torn…

Q: Can I touch the book? Is it ok to pick it up?
A: Of course! This is a very touch-friendly project. In fact, you have to touch it to turn the pages and scan the images for content.

Q: Will this book exist after the gallery exhibition?
A: No, the book was created specifically for the exhibition, and will only be available from August 13-17, 2018. However, a documentation video will be available after the exhibition.

UPDATE: Here is the documentation video!

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