The Nonsense Laboratory

April 2021 | By Allison Parrish in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture and Artists + Machine Intelligence Grant

What does spelling sound like? The Nonsense Laboratory uses machine learning to let you poke at, mangle, curate, compress and elaborate the sounds of words spelled in text.

The Nonsense Laboratory is a series of playful tools for manipulating the way words sound and are spelled. Powered by a bespoke code library and machine learning model developed by Allison Parrish, the Laboratory invites you to adjust, poke at, mangle, curate, compress and elaborate the sounds of words in written text. The goal of the Nonsense Laboratory is to make it possible to play with spelling, the same way you play a musical instrument or with modeling clay. 

To do this there are five tools:
The Mixer spells out a new nonsense word that combines the sounds of the words you type in.
The Respeller rewrites a text, trying to retain its sound while omitting certain letters.
The Mouthfeel Tuner rewrites a text so that the words feel different in your mouth.
The Sequencer spells words from virtual mouth movements that you put in sequence, like a drum machine.
The Explorer guides you on a journey through an endless field of nonsense words.

We hope you use it to explore language, invent new words, and have fun reading the nonsense you created out loud. Start making nonsense!