I Search for an Artwork with These 25 Properties

I Search for an Artwork with These 25 Properties is a word search by Harun Morrison, who is working with us to design a new garden for Bootle Library

“When I first showed a draft of this word search to a friend, he instantly saw the word COSY. I was disturbed. Although COSY is a word it was not one that was supposed to be there. Nor is COSY a quality I search for in an artwork. I had spent many hours looking at this field of letters and had missed this unintentional word. It unnerved me because perhaps there were other words lurking in the word search that are not intended to be there alongside the ones that are. As the words here run across diagonals, run backwards, on horizontals and verticals, proofreading becomes more complex than simply reading left to right. I combed through the word search again and sent a list of corrections, hunting out words I had missed before. With the corrections I also suggested which letters should be switched or replaced. 

When Cody returned the updated wordsearch having followed these corrections, new words had appeared in unexpected combinations. Changes in one place produced unintended results and combinations in another. This became a concrete example of the difficulties of altering complex systems, so often an intervention at one point leads to spin-offs and byproducts that you didn’t calculate. So although there is a list of words embedded in these letters with one intention, I cannot promise there are not other words. However since we cannot always extract what we don’t think we want, from what we think we want, how do we deal with their coexistence?”