The Alphabet

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Introduction[edit]

ACB/ Blijven Kijken[edit]

As the first entry, The Alphabet suits perfectly as opening for the encyclopedia of media objects. As introduction the lecturer Femke Snelting starts with her recent work in progress titled ACB, a collection of small stories and anecdotes that talk about the stability and instability of the alphabet. The work has been shown amongst others in the group exhibition Blijven Kijken, curated by Pieter Van Bogaert in Leuven. The exhibition catalogue published in Brussel by square vzw gives additional insight in the project.

Abecedary from Gilles Deleuze[edit]

One of the favoriet film of curator Pieter Van Bogaert, is the interview with Gilles Deleuze where the alphabet defines the structure. According to Bogaert, the alphabet is discipline and in the same time provides freedom. In the famous 8 hours interview series L'abécédaire filmed over a year, the philosopher Gilles Deleuze was asked to chose for each letter of the alphabet a term, to then talk about it. His former student and friend Claire Parnet did the interview and Gilles Deleuze only agreed on it under the condition that it would be broadcasted after his death. The alphabet gave him on the one hand the clear lineaire structure and on the other hand allowed to use each letter for an arbitrary individual answer. He did not know the questions beforehand and was though not prepared to reply. This balancing between rigor and open interpretation showed the famous thinker in a different more personal way. It started with A like animal and ended with Z like zigzag.

Movable type[edit]

In the story of the invention of printing, the invention of the movable type, stands the discussion about its origin. In Dutch history there exists the version with Laurens Janszoon Coster. In 1423 he went with his grandchildren in the forest and cut from a piece of bark the first letters of theirs names. Then he observed an imprint of the letters in reverse in the sand and that is how the idea of the movable type originated. Based on that, the movable letter was discovered twenty years before Gutenberg printed his first bible, what leads to the dispute and the guess that Gutenberg must have stolen the letters from Coster after they met. Because Coster hired an assistant trained to become a printer, his name was Johannes, which can be understood as Gutenberg. After having stolen the letters from his master during Christmasnight, he must had traveled all the way first to Amsterdam and then to Mainz, where he started his own print shop. The story was written down only 150 years after the fact occurred, what might question its truth, but the nationalist legend lingers on in Dutch history. This fight about the origin ignores the printing techniques in other cultures as for instance in China or Korea since 1040, five hundert years earlier.(add original historical dutch text out of the recording?)

In addition to the history of the movable type a leap into the present leads to Madame Crickx vinyl shop of adhesive letters in Brussel. Her father created the molds in the 60ies, at the end of handlettering, when shop lettering by hand became too expensive and vinyl started to appear on the market. Crickx refused to work on command, so she made sure that there were always enough letters and characters in stock and to amuse herself she began each new alphabet at a random place. This anectode added by Femke Snelting gives a little insight in Madame Crickx daily life with the alphabet. When she starts with C, the first letter of her name the question might come up if she recognizes herself in the form she cuts out of the plastic? Did she feel that she left a mark on the urban landscape? Did she feel the author of her alphabet? A young designer came by that morning with a lot of questions. She replied her late father had designed the molds. She know that it was an evasive answer, but she didn’t like the idea that these letters belongs to her personally.

From picture to abstraction and vice versa[edit]

Typographers are trained to look at letters both as meaningful glyphs and as an abstract image or shape. Historians of the alphabet claim that writing systems evolved from pictographs to the alphabet. A picture of an ox turned on its side takes the form of the letter A, this shows a linear history from picture to abstraction.

Aleph.jpg

This transition from picture to abstraction led to the concept of the alphabet effect, a concept that attributes the west development over the abstract thinking, ditactive logic, mathematics, democracy, codified law, capitalism and monotheism to the development of the alphabet. Amongst them is Marshal McLuhan who states that the Greek alphabet has separated sight from sound and in that sense had become visually abstract. This is how he dares to say the Greek alphabet is the mother of invention. This view, which places the Greek alphabet at the root of civilization has been challenged in more recently theories for its misunderstanding of the development of the Chinese script, but not in the least because earlier writing systems predate the Greek alphabet by thousand of years and they do not follow the same linear progression of development from image into glyph, this is why a back and forth between pictograms and symbols can be recognizable in history of the alphabet.

UNICODE[edit]

CODE POINTS[edit]

SORTING IS AN OPERATION[edit]

CHRONOLOGY[edit]

200px-Vietnam-memorial-soldier.jpg

Vietnam Memorial in Washington, designed by Maya Lin. There were 4000 design entries, entered anonymously. 58195 names of servicemen killed or missing ordered by date of death, secondary effect of grouping often by location / shared circumstances, ordering produces an emotional effect. Repeated names exist (James Jones). 录音 33.08. 越南战争中,的战士。。 她没有用字母表的顺序来纪录战争中失踪或者死亡的战士的姓名,而是用大事记的方法用时间来做顺序来纪录。 纪录受伤的日期。然后失踪的日期。 如果你要找一个人却不知道死亡日期的话,你只能去phonebook去查找日期然后找到所需要的信息。这样的记录方式存在着非常感性的品质,整合人们因为在同一天同一地点只能可以直到有多少人受伤多少人死亡与失踪。 在越南战争中,有许多有着相似名字的人死亡。不同的记录顺序会带来不同的情绪影响。more than 600 people dead with last name ,and 16 with the name smith james jones.

1,social life of information--book

THE PURE MECHANICAL IS RARELY SO PURE[edit]

录音:35:46

a story from the book : "social life of information"

The purely mechanical is rarely so pure. There’s a story told of a typesetter working on a Greek Text at the Oxford University Press who announces he’d found a mistake in the text. As the typesetter couldn’t read Greek, his colleagues and then his superiors dissmissed his claim. But the man insisted. So finally an editor came down to the compositing room. At frist, she, too, dismissed the idea, but checking more closely, She found there was an error. Asked how he know, the typesetter said he had been hand picking letters for Greek texts for most of his Professional life ad was sure that he’d never made the Physical move to pick the two letters in that order before.


The story may well be apocryphal, but it does illustrate the diverse sorts of knowledge, including the “embodied” knowledge, which people in different role possess.( and may account for the absence of cogent editing or design in many modern books) Putting this all on the desktop, while supporting the individual in some ways, ignores the support and knowledge latent in systems that distribute work. The apparent “ease” offered by these technologies hides much of the extra work they involve. So teacher are encouraged to “put their material up on the Web”, as if that task too were merely a click away. Anyone who tried will quickly find how demanding making and maintaining a worthwhile Web page can be.

some Qs[edit]

Q1:Debatable neutrality of an alphabet, or "externality to culture"

Q2: Bulgarian: 28 letters, 30? 32?? (4 letters don't count) ... debate 30 букви Denis has an interview in the latest Libre Graphics Magazine about Internationalization (not yet online) 不同语言的字母表有不同的顺序。以及不同的字母。包括包含更多的字母。有时候一些小语言难于适合。

Q3:How does an organisation like Unicode work, how do they make decisions. 录音30.06:让不同的字母顺序可以相互调换。但是现实是,在电脑科学的顺序中,很难有多种顺序在同一时间出现。但是在现实的沟通中,情况会更加复杂。我们会理解不同文化和国家的沟通情景下不同的多种顺序,但是可惜在现在的科技下没有办法在同一时间下包括多种顺序。是一种国际化的沟通挑战。

Q4:old fashioned method of typing Chinese was "parts based"... new style is more sound based / phonetic question of how a code like Unicode can feedback onto Language use (do people stop using some language because it's hard to type)


PIRAT PAD[edit]

how to cross a sentence that is done

This pad builds on http://piratepad.net/Nog1lfAWCd, created by Lasse the Viking & michael & Menno & michaela & mths & Marlon & andre & Anon & [unnamed author] & eleanor & Knirzi the Kaizer & yoana & evo

#license:CC-by-sa-3.0 

http://pzwart3.wdka.hro.nl/wiki/An_encyclopedia_of_media_objects.#February_5_-_Femke_Snelting

Tue 5 Feb 2013 // Femke Snelting @ PZI

Media Object: "THE ALPHABET"

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ |A|L|P|H|A|P|E|T| +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+


Well, then we start with A

the stability and instability of the alphabet


"ACB" part of: Blijven Kijken / Ce qui nous regarde / Dropouts (exhibition at Museum Leuven)

Curator: Pieter Van Bogaert

http://www.squarevzw.be/reader.htm


ABC[edit]

Clip with Gilles deLeuze from 8-hour interview L’Abécédaire de Gilles Deleuze by Claire Parnet. Their conversation was structured by topics related to each letter of the alphabet ("Z comme Zigzag")

Movable type[edit]

Story of the woodcut letters, predating Gutenberg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurens_Janszoon_Coster Fight about origin of the printed word: GUTENBERG STEALS TYPE BLOCKS!

Today She Started with C[edit]

Vinyl shop window ads in Brussels Madame Crickx http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/foundry/crickx/

Dyslexia[edit]

Common form to look at the letters as an abstract form or a picture

"The Greek alphabet is the mother of invention" - Marshall McLuhan

writing systems evolved from pictograms to alphabet - from pictures to abstaction

'the greek alphabet as separated sight from sound' M.McLuhan This idea that the greek alphabet lies at heart of civilization has been challenged. Eg, evidence shows switching back & forth between pictograms & symbols - not always a linear progression in every alphabet.

Unique Code Points[edit]

A bridge between the different alphabets and the keyboard. Unicode project an attempt to make a standard that would include all world languages. the computer as a cipher machine

Types of encoding - have a hard time translating between different systems Unicode make space for the all the languages - space between http://www.unicode.org/

UNICODE - a unique code point for every character, semi-commercial organisation table connects each letter to a specific code

Advantage of unicode: "when 2 people from different languges have to talk with eachother" ?? ASK AGAIN 16 bits format, 65 million different characters, there is over 170 million (problem!) lot's of chinese characters get left out and also characters of smaller african languages

"Code point": A number that represents a particular symbol or glyph

Denis Moyogo Jacquerye - the haphazard way the unicode places the characters Unicode is expanding organically. Rarer languages see their characters being added in a haphazard way, and reqire weird keyboard shortcuts (as keyboards can't be set to that lanugage) & hard to find then in the table as they're listed numerically. it's not a practical system

http://river-valley.tv/tag/denis-moyogo-jacquerye/ Unicode solved about 80% all is not possible

Unicode fail: http://translate.google.com/#de/te/hallo

Unicode made inter-alphabet communication easier Unicode as contributing to the extinuihs of languages? The languages/glyphs that remain on the borde or are excluded have a hard time survivng in a digital world.

Sorting is an operation[edit]

COLATION The order of the alphabet - the property of the language Not all alphabets have the same order. Accented charachters are ordered after the non-accented in Czech, also Hungarian. but for example, in swedish accented letters are placed after the 'z' (this is not a mistake, it's swedish) üúùũçļĺ Slovak has the 'i' before the' j'

Databases impose an order (often it's a property of a database table what sorting it uses). Unicode's collation algorithm lets you switch between different orders, so you can choose a sorting order for your database.

Unicode table http://www.tamasoft.co.jp/en/general-info/unicode.html Unicode cyrilic http://jrgraphix.net/r/Unicode/0400-04FF

Realities are multilingual. there are no solutions how to order a multilingual system

Chronology[edit]

Vietnam Memorial in Washington, designed by Maya Lin. There were 4000 design entries, entered anonymously.

58195 names of servicemen killed or missing ordered by date of death, secondary effect of grouping often by location / shared circumstances, ordering produces an emotional effect. Repeated names exist (James Jones).

The pure mechanical is rarely so pure[edit]

The story of a Greek typesetter who detected an error in a text by recognizing that he had never made a particular physical gesture gefore (the taking of two letters in that order).

Text from "The social life of information" by JS Brown, P Duguid.

Questions[edit]

Q: How do the order of things play a role in their structure? http://www.tamasoft.co.jp/en/general-info/unicode.html A: The alphabet as an external source It function as a fetish object: "The fetish of the neutral". If you think of the alphabet as a media object, it is extremely political.


Debatable neutrality of an alphabet, or "externality to culture"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphabet_song

Bulgarian: 28 letters, 30? 32?? (4 letters don't count) ... debate 30 букви Denis has an interview in the latest Libre Graphics Magazine about Internationalization (not yet online)

How does an organisation like Unicode work, how do they make decisions.

Some languages are missing, while all of Zapf Dingbats, umbrella, snowman --- questionaglyphs exist.ble https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowman#Unicode ☃ the snowman is supported ☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠ "For years, many people wrote transliterated Cherokee on the internet or used poorly compatible fonts to type out the syllabary. However, since the fairly recent addition of the Cherokee syllables to Unicode, the Cherokee language is experiencing a renaissance in its use on the Internet." Full_Keyboard.gif █▒

THIS CHAT IS TEXT-ONLY!

old fashioned method of typing Chinese was "parts based"... new style is more sound based / phonetic question of how a code like Unicode can feedback onto Language use (do people stop using some language because it's hard to type)

... on the other hand not just loss, neighbors being able to speak is significant and constructive (potentially)

Popular ways of writing phonetically

Conclusion? There is no unicode!?