Monday, June 1, 2009

General Unifying Theory

The 26 letters in Æthelwold Etc. are born partly of the belief that the communal form of the alphabet is as responsible for a letter's legibility as that letter's specific form. If, for instance, you were to come upon a basket weave pattern in the Duomo floor, your mind would not necessarily view it as an O even though it is circular. If you came upon the same basket weave pattern printed in a book, preceding a P and following an N, there would be no doubt that it was an O. Further, the disparity between the letter's contextual legibility and the form's alphabetic ambiguity might "open a lane"* to a fresh appraisal of our typographic assumptions. The complex relationship between the letter and it's form might also broaden our understanding of the relationships between communal responsibility and individual prerogative, free will and determinism, heredity and experience – though, admittedly, that is a leap.

*The reference is to Auden's line "And the crack in the tea-cup opens/ A lane to the land of the dead" from As I walked out one evening.