Swipe is a meditation on how so-called ‘swipe’ typing represents a mode of contemporary calligraphy. In this mode, the defined letterforms of print are converted into flowing glyphs—evoking the kinds of calligraphic writing seen in different cultures throughout the world. However, unlike the latter, swipe typing is bound to the particular keyboard layout at play, and so different gestures, on different keyboard arrangements, can yield nevertheless the same outcome, from a computational standpoint.

Swipe uses the commonplace QWERTY keyboard layout, with its defined twenty-six key alphabet, as the structural underpinning of its generated glyphs. The latter are made using a plotter drawing algorithm that emulates the strokes of a calligraphic brush. The source text comes from the author’s own Google Gboard word suggestions—chaining together a communication that reflects the determined statistical norms of his typical smartphone usage.

As of August 2022, Swipe is now available with Paperview Books.

Page Spread