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Barcodes: Building Blocks of Design

“It is an unofficial fact of modern life that the average grocery store clerk will attempt to scan an item at least a dozen times before breaking down and manually pricing a troublesome product through the cash register. The act of scanning has become so ingrained in everyday commerce that a scan gone awry can generate everything from an audible sigh of displeasure to a rolling of eyes to an under-the-breath slandering of a grocery store manager named Brian…Using a massive database of bar codes, [Scott] Blake creates mosaics of easily recognizable figures such as Oprah, Elvis, Madonna and Jesus. More impressively, he tailors the bar codes to his specific subjects, so that a portrait of Arnold Schwarzenegger is also a coded — and fully scannable — representation of the actor’s film career.”