I thought it would be interesting to play with the idea of the apparent permanence of the alphabet and language by interpreting them though a temporary and fleeting material.
The alphabet along, with numbers, colours and the sounds that animals make are among the first things we learn as children. This “first” knowledge is very powerful and gives the alphabet the sense that it is unquestionable, definitive and of all time. It feels like a key piece of understanding which is an essential building block of our human experience.
This permanence however is not true, as language is always changing and the alphabet as we know it today has gone through many forms and letter sets. Until the 15thC for example there were three letters which we now no longer use (thorn, edh and yogh) and as late as the 1850’s the Ampersand (&) was considered the 27th and last letter of the Alphabet.
I thought it would be interesting to take advantage of the bitterly cold weather we’ve having recently to try and show that even something which looks honest, solid and unmovable like the alphabet is only subject to time before it too changes. With the Globalisation of language and the advancement of the digital world with the abbreviations of tweets, sms’ and urls, it is not unbelievable that new letters may be born to help speed our global communication.