Avant-garde project described and planned in the early 1930s to create a reading machine that would use cinematic technology to make words move across a reading surface.
Note: The article describing the “Readies” was published in transition (1930) and in the stand-alone publication The Readies (Bad Ems: Roving Eye Press, 1930). It also inspired a collection of short works created for the machine, Readies for Bob Brown’s Machine (1931), which included poems by Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and Filippo Marinetti.
“The written word hasn’t kept up with the age. The movies have outmanoeuvered it. We have the talkies, but as yet no Readies. I’m for new methods of reading and writing and I believe the up-to-date reader deserves an eye-ful when he buys something to read. I think the optical end of the written word has been hidden over a bushel too long. I’m out for a bloody revolution of the word” (1). (from Bob Brown’s The Readies (Bad Ems: Roving Eye Press, 1930, UCLA Special Collections.)
“Writing must become more optical, more eye-teasing, more eye-tasty, to give the word its due and tune-in on the age. Books are antiquated word containers…. modern word=conveyors are needed now, reading will have to be done by machine; microscopic type on a moveable tape running beneath a slot equipped with a magnifying glass and brought up to life size before the reader’s birdlike eye, saving white space, making words more moving, out=distancing the flatulent winded ones and bringing the moment brightly to us” (13).
(from Bob Brown’s The Readies (Bad Ems: Roving Eye Press, 1930, UCLA Special Collections.)
Starter Links or References: The Readies (Bad Ems: Roving Eye Press, 1930) | Readies for Bob Brown’s Machine (1931)
Transliteracies Research Report By Jessica Pressman