Project for Tachistoscope
[Bottomless Pit]

William Poundstone

Project for Tachistoscope [Bottomless Pit]

While deploying its bottomless (and looping) narrative of a geological anomaly though rapid serial visualization, Poundstone's project also opens a quiet assault of, and perhaps on, icons. Engineered to make subliminal statements and incorporating effective sound, this piece also makes the reader highly conscious of how texts and images are read together and how a reader's attention is parceled out in time-based media.

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Author description: My work generally references the histories of the avant-garde and popular culture. The starting point of this piece is the historical coincidence that "subliminal advertising" and "concrete poetry" were introduced as concepts at nearly the same time. The piece is, as far as I know, the first to use subliminal effects in a work of electronic literature. A fuller description/statement is incorporated in the work itself.

Instructions: To hear the sound, turn on the computer's speakers or plug in headphones. Click "Start" to begin (the piece itself does not require any action from the user) or click on one of the surrounding icons to read Poundstone's full statement about the project and other related texts.

Previous publication: Project for Tachistoscope [Bottomless Pit] was published by Poundstone at his site,, in October 2005. Project for Tachistoscope [Bottomless Pit] is also available on SCAN: Journal of Media and Arts Culture,

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

This Flash work has been emulated with Conifer by the Electronic Literature Lab in January 2022. To view this emulation click here.