Calligraphic deconstruction assignment:
Due date: April 27, 2018
Words: 200 words.
The purpose of the assignment is to drag text into the context of image, and image into the context of text, thus (dis)placing the alphabets A to Z at the crossroads of icon and word.
We may explore alphabets as visual equations:
Take the following steps:
- Formulate a unique or original visual equation from the alphabets A to Z. Do notuse any of the equations listed above. Analyze your equation to justify it as images.
- Select two neighboring alphabets, (for example AB, BC, CD, DE, EF, etc.). Describe their visual properties as neighbors in terms of gender, biomorphic, sexual, iconic, formal, geomorphic, or other semantic or morphological properties. Please read the material below as a point of reference.
We are all nomad. We wander across patterns of thought. We leave and return from places of rage, sadness, anger, love and hate, like truck drivers delivering goods from the east to the west coast, from the mid-west to the south, moving across vast expanses of emotional fluctuations while driving. We rest at the crossroads of our own minds, with friends and enemies, and the borders of our relationships are constantly shifting from here to there, because the difference between here and there is T. And T is the symbol of the crossroads. The difference between he and she is S. And S is the symbol of flexibility. Nomadism is an ex experience, and any experience contains the Ex, the unknown, the unknowable, the mysterious. Exile is an ex- experience. What is missing in the place of exile, is only significant in the eye of the exile.
Alphabets are nomadic figures. They move back and forth from their native locations in the alphabetical order ABCDE… to Z, and they inhabit whatever spaces we place them to form written words. Like the paintings of Josef Albers, they look adapt and change to fit their new contents, like exiles fitting in within new countries. A sounds differently in “Shape” and “Sharp.” And P does not sound the same in “Place” and “Phase.” But when they return to their natural positions in their native alphabetical order, they must also relate to the figures before and after them, as good or bad neighbors.
Here we will investigate the process of de-scribing alphabets and turning them into logo-visual entities for semioptic equations. First it is important to select some specific fonts and compare and contrast them. For the sake of consistency and graphic visibility, we will begin here with capital letters only. Below, the three selected alphabetical types are from different fonts. Helvetica and Letter Gothic Standard Bold are in rows 2 and 3 respectively and you may compare them with Times New Roman in the first row.
1.A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
- A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
3.A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
A good view of the topological aspects of the alphabets enables us to draw some relations according to the similarities among the letters. Below are three types of alphabetical analogies of lines, as horizontal, vertical, and diagonals.[i]
These are alphabetical figures as analogies of landscapes, reclining nudes, and non-figurative field painting. The horizontals refer to line directions in the figure. The horizontal alphabetical patterns may be classified into the various categories below:
- All figures with horizontal lines or bars: A E F H L T Z is a list of all the figures that contain horizontal lines. The horizontal lines add the effect of lateral space to the figures, giving them room to sit more comfortably, and fill their environments. Sometimes the horizontal lines provide a link from one side of the figure to another (A), thereby generating an illusion of movement.
- Figures with horizontal lines or bars in the mid section or belly: A E F H.
The specific effect of the mid-section horizontal bar varies in each of the figures. Generally, the horizontal line brings attention to the middle of the figure, securing a stronger connection between the top and the bottom, while fragmenting the movement with steps. The horizontal line in the middle of the composition thus gives an illusion of height to the figure, although it also provides width. When the lines do not connect the two sides of the figure, as in E and F, they resemble and equate hands or phallic projections.
- Figures with horizontal bars at the top: E F T Z
These horizontal bars are like heads, or hats on top of the figures. They bring attention to the upper part of the figure’s body, a reference to intellectual or emotional states.
- Figure with horizontal bars at the top only: T
This single letter T is unique because it is the boldest demonstration of an unstoppable force running into an immovable object, as the horizontal line at the top abruptly terminates the vertical movement from below. The impact of the collision seems to have fused both lines into a single shape T. The reference of the horizontal line to the top, however, brings an intellectual calm and balance to the imagined explosion that must have attended the formation of the letter.
- Figure with horizontal bars at the bottom only: L
Like a leg, the figure L stands straight and tall, almost as a giraffe with its head poking out of the woods. It is thin, almost gaunt, because the length that the horizontal line projected at the bottom does not add to the bulkiness of the figure, while providing a sturdy shoe. The weight of the shoe is rather heavy, which adds stability to the location of this solitary-looking figure.
- Figure with horizontal bars at top and bottom: Z
Built like a house, this figure has both a roof and a floor inscribed into its sharp and angular body. The line at the top is perhaps most prominent because of its placement at the summit, and the line at the bottom provides support and exaggerates the effect of width in this figure that suggests a sprint or dash between two poles. It is therefore a surprising combination of two seeming opposites: the stability and sturdiness of a building, combined with the zigzag lightning speed, or dash of a cheetah.
- Figures with horizontal bars at top and middle: F
This figure is rather top-heavy. It seems to wear a hat, while gesticulating with the short hand in the middle of the figure. The opening at the top also suggests speech and vision, giving the impression of an articulate orator addressing an audience.
- Figures with horizontal bars at top, middle, bottom: E
E is an absolutely male character, with phallic projectiles. An illusion of fragmentation as well as intesity attends this figure that seems as endowed in girth as it is in height. Emphasis is on every part of the figure, as the horizontal line brings attention to the top, middle and bottom of the figure, which suggests stability as well as openness, accessibility, and warmth. The unifying vertical line at one end throws the letter out of perfect symmetry, turning it into a fork, or equation for the hand.
These are alphabetical figures as analogies of portraits, busts, and non-figurative field painting. The vertical term refers to the direction of lines in the figure. They may be classified into the various categories below:
- Figures with vertical lines or bars: B D E F H I J K L M N P T Y
This is a list of all the figures that have vertical lines. The vertical lines add an appearance of tallness to the figures, giving them leverage to project high into the skyline like architectural marvels. They also have the effect of arranged monumental sculptures, standing tall, imposing, and commanding within their environments. The vertical lines give vertebral strength to figures B and D, and as structural supports, sometimes the vertical line provides a link from the top of the figure to the bottom, thereby generating an illusion of upward mobility, or descent, as in F and J. The vertical lines are the pillars around which many of the figures are structured.
- Figures with vertical lines or bars in the mid section or belly: T Y
Only two figures, T and Y, have vertical lines in the middle of the composition. The specific effect of the vertical line in the mid-section varies in each of the figures. In the case of T, the line runs all the way to the top and where it terminates with a jolting halt. The case with Y is different, because the connection between the horizontal line and the divergent diagonal lines (v) in the figure is in the middle, and more gentle. The short and powerful vertical line forms the stem of a tree that branches out into two symmetrical halves. If seen from the top downward, it becomes two rivers that converge at a confluence starting at the vertical line. In the Y, the vertical line emphasizes the strong core of the figure, and anchors securely to the v configuration, to indicate a link between the top, middle and the bottom, balancing fragmentation by marking cardinal points on the body of the figure. If seen as a standing figure, it could be a sign of triumph, as a victor holds his or her hands up in jubilation. But it could also be a stick-up, or a police incidence in which the suspect raises his or her hand in surrender. T is a crucifix, with the victim standing tall and proud, or with the outstretched arms serving as a yardstick for measurement (T-square), or a billboard by the side of the highway.
- Figures with vertical line on the left side only: B D E F K L
These six letters are important because they are triangulations of boundary and bridges, with the vertical lines serving as the boundary that the other shape is bridging and approaching. The terminal line that the vertical bar projects provides a rod of attachment by the other side of the letter. Each of the letters may be divided into the tension and resolution of two forces, fusing themselves into a third element. The letter D is a wonderful equation for a bow (or armaments in general), and figure B, maybe an equation for pregnancy? Or a diptych, a stacked load, a pair of glasses?
- Figures with vertical line on the right side only: J
The figure J is like a mermaid, with the gentle tail or fin at the bottom that seems too sensitive to be suitable for walking, unlike the leg of L. It seems to float effortlessly in a body of water, almost like a seahorse. But it could also be the anchor of a ship, or a fishhook. In a totally different direction, it references a surveillance submarine, with the spy hole jutting out of the water. It is also a telescope for studying the stars on a clear night. The organic bend at the point where the vertical line meets the tail is the fragile Achilles heels of this figure with a wide morphological range of de-sign allusions.
- Figures with vertical lines or bars on both sides: H M N
These figures are equations of bridges and boundaries, with an illustration of the points of departure and point of arrival. The two vertical lines are the poles of departure and arrival, and the other synopt or shape is the tension connecting them. H is the model of the pole and lintel architecture. H also equates a direct connection between the borders, or beginning and end. M makes the connections by forming a more convoluted twist and turn of a gangster movie with the bank robber trying to shake the chasing cops, as sirens fill the air. But the M is also a coronet filled with diamonds sitting on Queen Elizabeth II’s graying hair. Is M as equation for a stagnating economy, in which the graph is not showing any sign of improvement? And is N is a good example of hope in an economy that is stagnating? Or is N reaching across the isle, linking the two halves of the society, crossing borders of deep prejudice? There are as many ways of skinning a cat as there are in building bridges, as the HMN equation show.
- Figures with vertical lines only: I
This unique character is clearly the thinnest figure in the alphabets. It stands straight and proud, although it is gaunt and isolated. The sign of ultimate individuality, I is solitary, alienated, and marooned in its own narcissism. It is phallic in its simplicity and thrust, and the symbol of assertion, of the upward mobile solo player. But the same steps could also lead downwards, and there is no breaking point if there is a fall from the top to the bottom. It is ultimate male character, stoic, unadorned, and fragile both psychologically and physically.
- Figures with diagonals: A K M N V W X Y Z
These are alphabetical figures as analogies of choices, opportunities, dexterity and flexibility. The diagonal does not seem to be about itself as it is about what it indicates, the two points that it links in a slanting or oblique manner. The figures also de-sign uncertainty, insecurity and doubt. All the diagonals open up the figures and lead away from the center to the left or right of the figures, or sometimes up or down, into the unknown, out of the picture frame. The diagonal term refers to the slanting and oblique movements and positions of the lines in the figure. They may be classified into the various categories below:
- Figures with single diagonals: N Z
N is a simple bridge on the west/east side of the boundary, whereas Z has a north/south positioning of the boundary. The single and bold bridge is spanning the sides in N, while it connects the top and bottom in the case of Z. But the diagonal inclinations in the unit NZ is divergent, even though the two figures have analogous line movements, they are distorted mirror reflections with slightly rotated angles in two different orientations.
- Figures with double diagonals: A K M V W X Y
If single diagonals could be a de-sign of indecision, what about diagonals within diagonal, such as W and X? But the appearance of complexity of W is twice that of X because while X radiates outward, W moves both in and out.
- Figures with diagonals on top only: Y
Y is the catapult, also a bird in flight, and a priest with raised arms in worship. This gesture is transcendental, reaching up to the skies for inspiration, sustenance, protection, seeking outside company, taking risks, and being enthusiastic with open arms, growth, aspiration dream, enthusiasm and optimism.
- Figures with diagonals on top and bottom: K W M X
These figures with diagonals located both at the top and the bottom provide an anthropomorphic look to the characters, because they also have tangible and active middles, loins, or points from where their limbs extend. Like people, they stand on two legs, but do it in different ways. K takes the orator’s position of resting the body’s weight on one leg, and rhetorically lifting one arm during debates. W balances precariously on tiptoe like a basketball player with arms poised to take or shoot the ball—or to guard the aggressive attack. Whereas X is the goalkeeper in the ice hockey team with a determination to prevent anything from getting into the net. M stands easily, both legs open, like a male figure.
- Curves (FEMALE FIGURES) BCDGJOPQRSU
These are alphabetical figures as analogies of comfort, opulence, femininity and friendliness. At the volume of figure O, the curves become the equation of the center, the earth, the cosmos, and fulfillment. The analogy of industry and mobility is in the wheel, and D shows a section of the same figure, as an analysis or dissection of it. There is therefore an OD relationship that is analytical. C relates to O in a vastly different way. The curves on figure S is proportional, quite Janus, with one face looking forward and another backwards. The figure S is a good equation for a coin, even more than O, because the S figure has the two hooks and a slender horizontal slant that joins the figure into a Janus linguistic sign, with the signified and signifier mediated by the sign. They may be classified into the various categories below:
- Single curves: C D G J P R U
Figures with single curves may be open or closed. The open figures are C G J U. The closed curves are D P R. Without the tiny hand of G, C and G would be identical. Both C and G are cave-like structures that encourage the eyes to climb into the hollow of the figure. The wombs or nests that these two figures create within their bodies provide an air of security and protection for any inhabitant of those spaces. But it looks more like a temporary abode, like a shelter away from a crisis, rather than a space of permanent habitation. J seems to be a fraction of U; U sits with its open top, like a ceramic vessel, a cup, or trophy won in a competition. With its distended stomach, it seems that D has a beer-belly, and no head. P and R have no belly at all, an R seems to be taking a fanciful pose, with one leg stylishly extended sideways. Is the figure male or female, in comparison to P? Or is P an R that has been castrated?
- Double curves: B O Q S
All these figures with the double curve are equations of abundance, monumentality and volume, as they fill their spaces with lavishness and immense sense of presence. The double chin of B makes the figure passable as just a profile of the head. Without the tail, it would be impossible to tell Q from O. Apart from S, with its serpentine lunge, all of the figures are closed, heavy, and contented.
- Stacked curves: B S
Both B and S are stacked, with two identical curves positioned one above the other. The difference in placement creates an equation in which B has its face looking forward, while S is twisted, and seems to be looking backwards. S is long and elegant, while B is short and solidly planted on the ground.
5 Straight figures (MALE FIGURES):
The straight figures are slightly more numerous than the figures with curves. The following is a list of the male-looking male figures: A E F H I K L M N T V W X Y Z
- Straight and curves combo: B D J P R
Figures that combine straight lines with curves are androgynous or hermaphrodite with hybrid qualities.
Alphabetical triangulations are anatomical, zoomorphic, sociological and so on, as the listings below shows:
- Horned Figures:
H K U V W X Y
- Pregnant figures:
- Twins figures:
B E H N S T Z
- Triplet figures:
K M W
- Quadruplet figures:
- Crossroads figures
- Figures with tails:
- Figures with hands:
- Figures with heads:
A B E F H K P R S T X Y Z.
MN is the middle, alphabetical divide. It is the point of binary split, of dialectics and dialog. You may therefore think of this equation of AM/NZ and AZ/MN as possible theoretical equation for discussing art. Although N is physically next to M, they belong to different sides of the alphabetical divide. In that sense, A is nearer M than N, meaning the distance between NM is longer than AM. This is a way of thinking about distances, volumes, sizes, and spaces on the art object, beyond apparent physical proximities and relations.
MN is the center of all semioptic de-signs and analyses, where all the signification systems intersect. You may call it a sacred spot, or the black hole, into which everything collapses. It is the equator, Africa, (geographic), America (metaphoric). It is also where the synopts met the panopts, signified interact with signifier, and artist and audience merge. AB /YZ interaction marks the beginning and end of art, artist, movement, style, and so on. AB/MN/YZ creates a model of interaction beyond the binary AZ or AB/YZ, taking the grey areas into the context. AZ is the polar representational binary aesthetics, of the Janus dialectics. AMNZ opens up the binary to a less polar position, while [ABMNYZ = AZ] shows a semioptic equation that transcends binary dimensions. If A therefore equates artist and Z equates audience, M is the signified and N the signifier in this de-sign of color wheel O.
Remarkably, the four primary figures, from which all the other twenty-three alphabetical figures may be derived, are A I O V. They are like the primary colors on the color wheel. The alphabetic combinations listed here below are already visually described. They are made with analogical equations and grouped in units, starting with the first group of unidentical twins.
- AV BD CG EF HN IJ KX MW LT OQ PR SZ UY
- EF BP
- CG IJ OQ PR
- OI DO DI TC
- A H K M N R W X—bipodals
- F I J TY—monopodals
AB—Grade; Curves/sharps, hard/soft-hard; Male/androgynous
ABC—Male/androgenous/female; grade, alphabets, numbers 123—hard/soft-hard/soft
EF OQ BP =A[MN]Z, beginning, mid, end.
EF=E follows F
BP=P does not direct follow
AMZ=black grey white;