Experiment 3 – Rules-based processes for text


Experiment 2 was predominantly concerned with image assets. In this experiment I need to find an interesting and engaging way of selecting and using text assets.

This includes text as:

  • Personal diary entries
  • News headlines
  • Qualitative information collected from the visual research questionnaire
  • Qualitative information collected from the visual research interviews


Using a range of chance and process techniques to select and manipulate texts will enable me to break free from seeing the texts as just captions and start to see than as visual assets.

Expected results

The experiment will generate new meaning and spark new ideas.

What happened

I used a random number generator to select texts and images from a set period of time – between 04/04/21 to 23/05/21.

This included:

6 diary entries:

Day 381

It was a bit of a struggle going back to work after the long Easter Weekend. It took me a couple of hours to remember where I left off last week.

Day 390

The second day of fasting was much easier than the first as I knew it would be. Not expending energy commuting and running between meetings probably helps. I did have a nap after work and felt great when I woke up.

My niece Olivia made a surprise visit and is staying for a few days which is lovely, and another sign that things are unlocking. She came down to London from Sheffield to attend a training event.

I booked my second flow test for tomorrow in advance of visiting my parents again over the weekend.

Day 411

A difficult day. My mother was confused and angry for the first couple of hours of the morning and that has surfaced several times throughout the day. I managed to take her out for a 2-hour walk in her wheelchair around Sandringham which gave my father and sister a break.

As I write there’s an incredible storm going on, thunder, lightning, and huge hailstones. The garden is almost completely white.

Day 413

I’m determined to experiment and discover how to use bamboo pens for reportage illustration. Illustrators I really admire and inspire me frequently use this medium and I need to get to grips with it. I managed to get 2-hours free from my caring duties and drove the Castle Rising to sketch on location using bamboo pens, calligraphy ink and watercolour.

My mother was moody and difficult this morning, but her mood changed in the afternoon, and I took her out for a walk in Sandringham again. I like it there because the pathways are good for wheelchairs, the circular walk is just the right length, and they do a good hot chocolate at the end.

Day 415

It was warmer today than it has been since I’ve been in Norfolk. I took my mother out for a push in the wheelchair to look at the sheep and lambs over in Castle Rising. There were lots of people out walking dogs and cycling, everyone taking advantage of the warmer weather.

I had a good chat with Erin about her current project. She’s produced some really nice pieces of work and it sounds like she’ll be using the colour lab in her university to make large colour prints. I’m slightly jealous.

Day 419

It was Eid today. The first thing I treated myself to a dark black coffee from the expresso maker.

It was a very busy morning in Norfolk. My parents had the cleaner, hairdresser and gardener all turn up at the same time. I though my mum would get confused, but she seemed so happy to be having her hair cut for the first time in a year she was in a great mood.

I left them after lunch and headed home. I got back just after six o’clock and spent a couple of hours unpacking and unloading my experience of the past two weeks on Reen, who was a good listener.

I’m now exhausted and will sleep well tonight.

6 headlines:

Day 397

There were 22 deaths from coronavirus in the UK and 2,396 new cases reported in the last 24-hours.

Day 398

India continues to be ravaged by a second wave of Covid-19. There has been more than 2,000 deaths and nearly 300,000 new cases in the last 24-hours.

Day 400

Indian hospitals say their patients are dying because of a shortage of oxygen as Covid case numbers and deaths set new records for a third day running.

Day 415

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the Government wants to see “friendly contact” between people restored. This brought warnings from ‘experts’ that we should be cautious about hugging, making them short and not face-to-face.

Day 419

Public Health England has recorded 1,313 cases of the Indian variant in the UK.

Day 424

Wealthy people have so far spent more than £1bn on superyachts in 2021 as they seek to escape Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions, according to a luxury lifestyle publisher.

12 questionnaire responses:

  1. Couldn’t access my studio and no space in my head for creativity 
  2. It was already experimental
  3. I started asking friends for opinions and participated in a drawing crit
  4. My teaching role changed to working much more online
  5. Don’t take anything for granted.  Be adaptable.  Inspiration can come from anywhere.  Be more open minded about possibilities.
  6. I have learnt that there are no barriers to learning and that as artists we are very good problem solvers. 
  7. It has made me more aware of digital opportunities, and the growing number of these
  8. Your question on health was unclear, physical, mental or both? I have not suffered physically.
  9. Online interaction with other artists has completely changed my circle and my approach to making, both in a positive way.
  10. I have a condition that means I take immunosuppressants that not only make me vulnerable but also negate the effectiveness of covid vaccine.  However new treatments make the future full of hope
  11. I had no paid work during the first lockdown and was very relieved to qualify for the self-employed grant. It enabled me to develop my work until work started to come in again
  12. Living in a family of doctors, having lost one member to the virus and having the repercussions of LC to deal with myself I have absolutely no patience for anti-vaxxers. As a diver and ocean activist, my work has also changed from activist art to documenting what we are about to lose. 

1 interview transcription (not reproduced here)

16 images:

Fig 1 – Random selection of image assets contact sheet 01 (2022)
Fig 2 – Random selection of image assets contact sheet 02 (2022)

12 notebook entries:

Fig 3 – Random selection of notebook assets contact sheet 01 (2022)

I gave myself 2-hours to create new texts using chance processes, and a further 4-hours to integrate these with a new randomly selected set of image assets to create a new artifact.

Create new texts (2-hours)

Text process 1 – Dada poetry generator

I used an online Dada Poetry Generator to create randomised poems using the selected texts.

This included:

Poem created using one headline of unedited text.

Indian shortage records for a
Indian patients because oxygen Covid numbers third
their case deaths third day
Indian hospitals shortage of Covid case deaths
of of Covid day running.
Indian their dying of new third running.

Poem created using one diary entry of unedited text.

I write there’s going almost
As storm going thunder, lightning, almost white
As an on, hailstones. almost
write an storm The garden almost white
there’s an going thunder, and
there’s incredible lightning, and garden is completely

Poem created using one unedited questionnaire quote.

doctors, one and of Long Covid
Living member and having to I anti-vaxxers
doctors, and having no for
having one the to deal with myself
family the having absolutely no
a member and repercussions with myself patience

Text process 2

Poem created using rules partially taken from the chance operations process described by Jackson Mac Low talking about his poem Stein 100: A Feather Likeness of the Justice Chair. This process uses a combination of chance and intentional intervention to create the final poem.

Poem 1 used a diary entry

It surfaced, incredible lightning almost completely day
confused in father’s thunder, huge white
sometimes walking and breaking.
Almost morning and I managed a 2-hour wheelchair break.
Difficult angry mother
a couple around Sandringham writing.

Poem 2 used a headline

Oxygen, case records.
Say, “numbers and records and deaths for
patients” because shortage for
third hospitals.
Covid numbers,
because a shortage of records running.

Poem 3 used a questionnaire response

Don’t from anywhere. Be minded about
take can come from.
Be more about don’t take anywhere.
Be more don’t take from anywhere,
more open anything granted.
Be, can come, take granted. Be adaptable. Be open to possibilities

Text process 3

I used the step-by-step instructions for making a Dadaist poem from Tristan Tzara’s “Dada Manifesto on Feeble & Bitter Love” (poets.org), to create four variations.

These were then photographed and digitally manipulated.

Fig 4 – Chance operation 01 (2022)
Fig 5 – Chance operation 02 (2022)
Fig 6 – Chance operation 03 (2022)
Fig 7 – Chance operation 04 (2022)

Combine text and image assets into a new artifact (4-hours)

I then created a new artifact by combining the text and image assets. because of the time constraint, there was no consideration of design or layout. The focus was purely on text and image content combinations.

What I learned

Using chance operations is a way for me to work with text in a more abstract and interesting way that works with how image my combinations have developed.

Text can be used purely for texture; as another image asset.

Using a semi random process where some curation is allowed is more interesting (to me) than working with pure chance.

What I’ll do next

Decide on a format for the visual development work that I’ll deliver as part of the final critical review that will incorporate both text and image assets.



Academy of American Poets (s.d.) Chance Operations. At: https://poets.org/glossary/chance-operations (Accessed 28/03/2022).

Academy of American Poets (s.d.) Stein 100: A Feather Likeness of the Justice Chair. At: https://poets.org/poem/stein-100-feather-likeness-justice-chair (Accessed 26/03/2022).

Dada Poetry Generator At: https://www.poemofquotes.com/tools/dada.php

List of illustrations

Figure 1 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Random selection of image assets contact sheet 01 In: Possession of the author

Figure 2 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Random selection of image assets contact sheet 02 In: Possession of the author

Figure 3 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Random selection of notebook assets contact sheet 01 In: Possession of the author

Figure 4 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Chance operation 01 In: Possession of the author

Figure 5 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Chance operation 02 In: Possession of the author

Figure 6 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Chance operation 03 In: Possession of the author

Figure 7 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Chance operation 04 In: Possession of the author

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