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First released in 1983 under the name Multi-Tool Word, the word processing application Microsoft Word has become an ersatz design tool for many. Michelle Son used this insight to create her first art installation.

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A Microsoft Word generated artwork by Michelle Son
CAPE TOWN, Dec. 21, 2010 — From missing pet posters to for sale signs, Microsoft Word has become a default design tool for the layman designer. Using this as her basic insight, Michelle Son, a Cape Town-based programmer and motion designer, recently constrcuted an interactive installation that physically recreated the programme’s

Titled To Whom It May Concern – an autotext salutation found in Microsoft Word – the installation manifested as a physical workstation that Son installed at a coffee shop on Barrack Street, Cape Town.
A Microsoft Word generated artwork by Michelle Son
“To Whom It May Concern is an exploration of the use of the template,” explains Son, whose personal projects include a series of computer generated portraits created using Apple’s Photo Booth application.
An example of Michelle Son’s automatic distortion drawing, created using Apple’s Photo Booth application
“Templates serve the purpose of guiding users with predetermined tools
created by programmers. These tools which have been designed from a
specific vantage point dictate how the tool is to be used and how it
functions. The common use of such tools can inform a standard aesthetic
of homogenised visual stereotypes. Using the default templates and tools of Microsoft Word is therefore an ideal model for illustrating this standard.”

The output for her exhibition included a series of intentionally banal, yet strangely eye-catching artworks designed using Microsoft Word Version X 2003 for Apple Macintosh.
A Microsoft Word generated artwork by Michelle Son
Read more about Michelle Son’s project.

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